Letter from the President 2013
We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about
progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough
to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
- Cesar Chavez
November 18, 2013
Greetings from MinneapolisNEXT.
As always, composing this annual update gives us a welcome chance to reflect on the state of NEXT, and marvel at all we have accomplished since our founding 15 years ago. It is so very gratifying that one simple act of kindness back then – one man taking a moment to offer a ride to a seventh grade boy on a recreational sports team – has blossomed into an organization that has since provided more than 200 high school scholarships, with more than 50 kids receiving our help in the 2012-2013 school year alone. And we have provided extracurricular sports and arts opportunities for many hundreds more. During the same period, that gangly seventh-grade boy grew up to be well-educated accountant who is now thriving in the metro D.C area, where he – always mindful of the leg-up he himself received - “pays it forward” through community service and mentoring commitments.
The feeder system we have been building up over the years continues to pay off, and plays a large part in our ability to efficiently maximize the impact of donor contributions - a hallmark of the NEXT giving philosophy. This multi-tiered network also strengthens local communities, nurturing a delicate coral reef of interdependent resources for young people who demonstrate tremendous potential. This includes not-for-profit service providers, schools and educators, community groups, arts and sports organizations, and at the center of it all, radiating out, generous donors like you, who make it all possible.
For example, your support helps longtime partner Hollywood School of Dance in North Minneapolis provide enriching after-school arts programming for kids in need. The school, in turn, helps us identify the high-potential candidates from their classes who will make the most of additional NEXT funding. In South Minneapolis, we find promising scholarship candidates through the grassroots not-for-profit organization that was formed by the community leaders responsible for the rejuvenation of Phelps Park. We are thereby able to provide educational opportunities that complement, and reinforce, the discipline and self-esteem boosting activities that organization provides to at-risk youth. Our long-term partnerships with DeLaSalle and other metro area high schools are also thriving, and with their guidance, we are able to direct your contributions where they will do the most good, and benefit the most kids.
As “virtual” connections increasingly replace personal interaction in our society, and debates rage on about the role of government, the state of the economy, and the direction our nation is headed, one thing is indisputable: These kids need us right now. And in doing all we can to brighten their futures, we are also helping ourselves. We are all connected. Their well-being is our own, and this shared purpose unites and drives us.
Best of all, through the tentacles of our network, we direct your donations in ways that help not only young people, but local arts and sports organizations, struggling neighborhoods, and dedicated community builders, exponentially increasing the impact of each dollar.
This network - which mushroomed from one single act of kindness - is strong, but also delicate. Setting young people on a path out of poverty and towards success is fraught with challenges, the primary one being the constant struggle to keep up with an ever-growing demand. There is nothing harder than having to turn away kids in need. Can we count on your support? With your help, we will all take another step forward.
Thank you so much for providing the foundation on which we have grown our organization. Here’s to 15 more years of changing lives and strengthening communities…one child at a time.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season, and abundant joy in 2014.