A good plot consists of three elements- a challenge, a choice and an outcome. This evening you have heard Mary Owen touch on our origin story. It’s a good story. A Call to Action inspired by the needs of a family struggling to find a safe place to live, a choice by those present on whether or not to engage, whether or not to be involved in addressing this problem, and the outcome which is about the lives of multiple families and people impacted over the last thirty years. Each of them their own individual story. And this is so important and really how I want to start my conversation this evening, – which is to say, yes, the problem and crisis of affordable housing has gotten more complicated and harder, and the numbers feel overwhelming when we talk about need. And at the same time, look at what can happen. Usually when I am asked how can an organization like CPAH hope to make a difference? I say – Person by Person. But what I want to say to you tonight, is that the answer is also, By Showing Up. We have been blessed to do this work for thirty years and there is no reason to think we won’t be doing it for many more. Especially with the partners and organizational ancestors here for real and in spirit with us this evening. This is how we do it. Person by person. Showing Up.
For my part, as I think about where we are going, I want to say that there is something incredible about stepping into an organization not at the beginning and not at the end but in the middle. Many of us have had this experience- it isn’t unique, it is actually usually always the middle of something – but it is also special. Because we get to step into someone else’s vision and keep it moving forward for whoever is coming after us. For sure, this is especially true about a housing organization because we build our communities to last a very, very long time. That is why I am especially grateful for the Kaye Family Fund gift, focused on resident services, that we can grow over the years to be sure that not only do our homes last, but our support for our residents is also long living, stable, and unwavering.
I get to work with an incredibly talented group of people, you will be hearing more about them tonight. I just need to give my appreciation too, to the staff who work so hard, to our partners and donors, and to our residents and participants. I am excited that we have more stories planned for you this evening.
Before I leave you, I want to share with you a quote I love by the famous poet Charles Wright, from Mr. Wright’s poem, A Journal of Southern Rivers. “What lasts is what you start with.”
What lasts is what you start with. And I think that is so true for us here. CPAH has lasted- and the way it started made that possible.
– Rachael Duke
CPAH’s Executive Director