The Future of Tides

I am excited to share some good news as the Tides family of people and programs is growing. We have added over 30 new clients to the Foundation since last year and increased grants processed through the Center by over $1.5M since 2010.

We have also redesigned Tides Partners, our online donor platform. It now allows donors to upload supporting documents when submitting a grant recommendation and decide whether to process the grant via check, domestic wire, or international wire. We have also redesigned how clients can view and manipulate grant data as well as developed an online contribution calculator.

We also just launched our new online magazine Momentum. Our pilot issue welcomed guest writers such as Sonal Shah, Gara LaMarche, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. I hope you had a chance to review it as well as share with others.

Over the course of the past year we have made important decisions because our world needs Tides more than ever. We are committed to building the most effective social change platform and delivering the most effective services and programs in pursuit of that vision.

Next year I am excited to announce some new programs and initiatives:

  • We will be increasing our global footprint through a partnership with UNHCR, as well as the launch of (ad)venture philanthropy – an opportunity for donors to learn and engage in communities across the globe.
  • We are creating more opportunities for giving and building community through the creation of collective action funds in the areas of faith based social justice, environment, education, and equity (which includes gender equity, racial justice, LGBT, and immigration).
  • We have also developed several strategies to increase civic participation and civic engagement for 2012 and beyond with our donors and activists.
  • Finally, we are working with our professional asset managers to review our asset allocation strategy to increase the fees earned on assets under management to balance our operational expenses.

Tides, like all nonprofits, is vulnerable in the face of economic uncertainty.  We have had to make tough decisions like operational cuts and staff layoffs but we have done so without compromising our ability to deliver services. As promised, we are making minimal changes to client assignments. And for those of you who are receiving new staff assignments, we will be in contact by the end of next week.

It is important to remember that the changes we are making are in service of delivering more value. And these new programs and initiatives are only possible due to new staff and new internal structures at Tides.

As the changes are being made I want to reiterate our commitment to improving customer service and enhancing the sustainability of our donors and activists. With respect to our activists, I am thrilled to announce a new capacity building and technical assistance initiative for our projects as well as the sector at large to support growth and sustainability of important anchor institutions in our communities. Tides has a lot to share based on our experiences over the past several years. For our donors, I want to remind you of our long-standing commitment to sequester donor dollars from our operational cash flow. Tides’ donor funds remain professionally managed by external experts who are mission aligned and partners in our ecosystem. Tides' donor assets remain healthy and untouched. As always we are happy to share our financial statements (balance sheet, donor assets) with anyone upon request and invite you to view our 990 statements that are publicly available.

I look forward to hearing form our community. It has been informative and enjoyable for me to talk to so many of you. Please keep the communication coming.

I remain honored and humbled to be in service to you and look forward to a happy and prosperous new year.

Wish you and your families - Happy Holidays!

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