From For to With
A lesson on prepositions (& turning 40):
This idea has been unpacked at great lengths in many places, but charities are oftentimes (rightly) criticized for operating from a mission that seeks to exist FOR its community, when we believe the more healthy and holistic mission should seek to exist WITH its community. The smallest change in preposition can make all the difference in the world.
When you see yourself WITH your community, you see yourself as one piece within a broader ecosystem. (Also fitting here could be Paul’s language of one body, many parts.) We all have a role to play, and we all need each other to get where we want to be.
Certainly we’ve taken missteps along the way, but we’ve done our broken best as an organization to partner well within our community, walking WITH others as we walk together towards the flourishing of us all. Over the last few years, two of our greatest joys have come through our partnerships WITH The Park Place and Render Free, walking alongside incredible leaders (Bekah and Arielle) cultivating beautiful things in our world.
As I turn the big 4-0 this week (ahhhh!!!!), I’ve spent some time reflecting on my life and it always finds its center as I think about all the central characters within my story. When you’re working FOR, the relationships are by nature hierarchical, your community as clients and the recipients of your work. But when you’re working WITH, your community becomes your co-laborers and collaborators and, better yet, your friends. Grateful for all my friends!
Nothing more powerful than the interwoven strength found in US.