Defining Our Core Values

Posted on August 11, 2017 | Corinne Goudreault, Weissberg Foundation

Last year, the Weissberg Foundation kicked off a year-long process to develop a strategic framework for our philanthropy. In May, Hanh wrote about how we’ve used grantee and applicant feedback to inform the framework, which we’ll roll out at the end of this summer. In the meantime, we wanted to share the organizational values that are embedded in the new strategic framework and will guide how we implement it!

Our Process

When we embarked on strategic planning last August, we knew we would need to come together as a board and staff to define our values as an organization. They would be infused in our strategy, guiding our interactions and decision-making and helping others better understand who we are. With that in mind, we used a fun, reflective practice with pop music to surface ten shared values key to who we are and why we do what we do. Yes—Katy Perry was involved! You can explore the details of that experience here.

Knowing we would ultimately need to distill the ten values into something more cohesive, we let them simmer on the back burner for several months as we defined other parts of our strategic framework. Once our updated vision, mission, strategies, program areas, and desired outcomes were tangible, we circled back to the values. The process of fleshing out the other components of our strategy helped us narrow and refine our initial list of ten values into five we connect with deeply and feel represent the foundation’s priorities and passions.

Our Values

  1. Equity: We acknowledge that our current social, economic, and political systems are unjust, in large part because of racism. We marshal our resources to advance equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.
  2. Listening & Learning: We seek to engage in our world with curiosity and appreciation for the diversity, depth, and breadth of perspectives, experience, and expertise that exist in it.
  3. Intentionality: We value the power of thoughtfully articulating clear goals and how best to achieve them. We also acknowledge that things don’t always go as planned, and learning comes from both success and failure.
  4. Ingenuity: We are inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of our founder and believe that innovation, adaptability, and smart risk-taking are integral in addressing challenges of all scope and scale.
  5. Trust & Empowerment: We believe true progress requires honesty, so we cultivate trusting relationships that empower others and ourselves to be our best.

Core to who we are as an organization, these values act as a touchstone, holding us accountable to ourselves, to one another, and to others with whom we engage. They are at the same time reflective of how we already carry out our work and continually aspirational as we learn and progress.

Next Steps

Later this summer, we’ll share these values in the context of our new five-year strategic framework. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Corinne Goudreault is the Program Associate at the Weissberg Foundation, where she provides a wide variety of administrative and programmatic support. She has been with the foundation for two years, prior to which she worked with several nonprofits in her home state of North Carolina.

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