letterhead-electronic-header 11.17.14
 

Hello Friends,

It's happened again! Our bi-annual enews update has inadvertently become our annual enews update! It has been another action-packed year here at MCFG, but we're grateful to be able to fill you in on all we have been up to.

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Diving Deep, Forging Ahead

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Mac in various states of Interim ED realness

One of our biggest projects of 2018 actually technically started in December 2017, when Mac stepped up to serve as Interim Executive Director of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. From December until she left for her three month sabbatical on July 13th (more on that later), and despite years of Laura's "friends don't let friends be Executive Directors" edict, Mac served the organization Laura helped found as it persevered through a strategic partnership process (which happily resulted in a merger with the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago!). Yes, there were budgets to crunch, grants to write, and unicorns to recruit, but there were also inspiring youth summits full of bagels and Pita Pete's; centering conversations with LGBTQ+ youth leaders; and, most of all, motivating dreams and schemes with the most magical merms, elefantes, unicorns, and narwhals around. Mac could go on and on about their joyful memories with Alliance team, but she'll settle for simply expressing her gratitude for the opportunity to serve this incredible organization.

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The Alliance Team at Night of Noise: Back: Mac, Nat, Rodrigo Front: Vince, Topher, Hannah photo credit: Windy City Times

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From all of us at MCFG to everyone at The Alliance and PHIMC, congrats and best wishes for an empowering partnership in 2019!

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Maya Bauer on HMPRG envelope spring appeal May 21 2018

In June, Laura facilitated a Policy Forum with Health & Medicine Policy Research Group on behalf of a learning collaborative working on behavioral health and primary care integration. Laura was able to engage a number of other MCFG clients who also participate in similar learning collaboratives to discuss “Integrating the Integrators.” During a time of budget crisis and political uncertainty, we believe it is more important than ever to share what we are learning, look for alignment, and ultimately fix things together. Many of these clients have been part of the work of McAlpine Consulting since the early days of our firm, and we applaud their growth and tenacity in helping communities achieve health, mental health and wellness.

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We continued to add new projects in 2018 focused on collaborative learning. In addition to our on-going coordination of the Domestic Violence Leaders Collaborative, made up of 27 agencies working to end domestic violence in Chicago and statewide, Chicago Foundation for Women also asked us to coordinate an 8-member funder collaborative which launched the FIRST Fund in July. This pooled fund is seeking to support innovation and collaborative action as methods to achieve systemic change and cultural shifts in addressing domestic violence. Laura has worked on domestic violence issues since her days as a college student at A Woman’s Place in Urbana, IL, so it is particularly meaningful to be finding new ways to tackle a persistent and deadly social problem. October was Domestic Violence Awareness month, and a statement by the DV Leaders can be found here.

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Mac continued working with Snow City Arts (SCA) this year, providing coaching services to the organization's Teaching Artist Advisors, and helping facilitate a three-year strategic planning process. Baring witness to SCA's dedication to quality programming and the students they serve, the intentionally they have about how they design their work, and their ability to think in terms of depth and breadth, has MCFG excited to see where the new strategic plan takes SCA in the future!

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Intersecting Conversations, Intersectional Community Building

Laura was thankful to be asked to share the story of her consulting work from 2010 to 2013 with ProGrace, an organization working to bridge the divide on abortion. In September, ProGrace CEO Angie Weszely and COO Denise Stein came with a camera crew to the MCFG offices, videotaping Laura telling the story of how they met, found common ground, and how Laura, Angie, and Denise changed together. Threads of this work began for Laura in the 1980s at Chicago Women’s Health Center, and in the 1990s at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health. Laura’s role in this particular project was to help ProGrace transform the work of crisis pregnancy centers, ending unethical and misleading practices to stop abortion. Along the way, Laura learned the importance of facing into her own judgements and misconceptions of people who historically have had political approaches different from hers, and the power of conversation across differences to transform practices.

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GP 2018

One of the opportunities Mac was most appreciative of this year was the chance to participate in Crossroads Fund's 2018 Giving Project cohort. This multi-racial, cross-class, intersectional group of 25 people committed to fundraise $100,000 to fund movement work in Chicago. Over the course of six months, the cohort dove deep into conversation about race and class, raised funds through their networks and own significant gifts, and practiced participatory grant making.

The 2018 Giving Project cohort raised $109,777 from 425 donors, which, combined with a $50,000 match from Crossroads Fund, enabled $144,000 to be granted out to 29 grassroots groups in Chicago! Thank you Crossroads Fund and the 2018 Giving Project Cohort for all your work to make this amazing achievement possible!

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Which Came First? The Chickens.

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Top: The chicks arrive at MCFG Bottom: The chickens take over the MCFG farm

After many years of researching and planning, Laura finally realized a long-held dream to bring chickens to the MCFG Farm on Francisco! On March 7th, four little chicks arrived and were tended to by mother hen Laura and neighbor Sara. It wasn't too long before the chicks outgrew their basement crate and moved into a coop that puts some NYC apartments to shame. Penguin, Pepper, Red Beak, and Speckles started laying eggs in early August, are already adjusting to the chilly Chicago weather, and are really grateful that the holiday this week focuses on another kind of bird.

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The Radical Sabbatical

While 2018 was full of diving deep into the work of supporting social change and healthy communities, forging relationships to propel the work into the future, and continuing on the path of building a more just world, the year held one other endeavor for Mac: hitting the road. Marking her 10-year anniversary as an employee of McAlpine Consulting, Mac went on a three-month sabbatical to explore what was going on in the world outside of budget reports, strategic planning retreats, and community organizing. The "radical sabbatical" started in July and took Mac to the wilds of Iceland, the dusty roads of her beloved camp at Burning Man, and finally, after a few additional stops along the way, to the emerald fields of Ireland. Mac spent her travels talking to people from all over the world about how they work towards justice, serve their communities, innovate the way their organizations operate, and build understanding with all the diverse people they meet along the way.

Returning with a renewed understanding of the importance of civic participation and civil disobedience, as well as all new ideas about how we can--and should--change how we work, not because of the benefits to productivity, but because of the benefits to people, Mac is gearing up for some new approaches to consulting in 2019. Keep an eye out for new ideas coming your way.

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The Black Cone, a Monument to Civil Disobedience in Reykjavik, Iceland

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Moving Right Along: The 2019 Trailer

A big thanks to Hayley, who will be leaving McAlpine Consulting at the end of December to pursue her career as a model and actress full time. She has worked at McAlpine Consulting since March 2016 and has kept all the humans and animals scheduled, registered, prepped and ready for prime time in their work to deepen impact and change the world. This has been especially true for the nonprofit staff in our learning collaboratives, where her warm hello at early morning events and her detailed note-taking have kept everyone on track. And, we will never forget the hot day in August when Hayley seamlessly moved up from understudy to the mother hen role to save our hen Speckles, who got sick as Laura was heading to a family wedding in Cleveland. Speckles lives on, and Hayley will always be a star at MCFG. Break a leg, Hayley!

2018 has been a big year. We've spent a lot of time doing the work of the moment, but we've also spent a lot of time thinking about the work of tomorrow. As this year winds down, and we have some time to sit around the wood burning stove with the office dogs, munching on deviled eggs courtesy of our resident hens, we will dive deeper into our plans for 2019. While that is work still to be detailed, we know a few things right now:

▪ The fight for justice is far from over, and we all have a role to play in it. And, justice comes in all forms. We as nonprofit consultants will be examining, adapting, and evolving our role to not just support organizations working towards justice, but help transform organizations to operate more justly.
▪ We can't contribute in all the ways that our communities need if we're not taking care of ourselves.One way to do that is to share with, learn from, and be in community with one another--and drinks can sometimes help! Keep an eye out for the return of the MCFG Salon Series in 2019!
▪ Where ever 2019 takes us, eggs will be involved.
The fight for justice is far from over, and we all have a role to play in it. And, justice comes in all forms. We as nonprofit consultants will be examining, adapting, and evolving our role to not just support organizations working towards justice, but help transform organizations to operate more justly.
We can't contribute in all the ways that our communities need if we're not taking care of ourselves.One way to do that is to share with, learn from, and be in community with one another--and drinks can sometimes help! Keep an eye out for the return of the MCFG Salon Series in 2019!
Where ever 2019 takes us, eggs will be involved.
4 hens laying 4 eggs in one day 09.12.18

Four chickens, four eggs: a full carton at MCFG

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We say it every year, and somehow, every year, we mean it even more than the one previous: THANK YOU. You are our friends, our colleagues, our teachers, our guides. You make the Excel spreadsheets and the twisted slinkies and the overflowing inboxes--all those small stresses--more than worth the time put towards them. The work you do is vital, but more than that, who you are makes the world better just by your existence. It can be hard to remember, in the nonprofit sector, that our efforts have real impact. Today, as we practice gratitude and reflect on the ways in which even this Thanksgiving Holiday needs to be examined for its problematic truths, we can say that in a world so seldom black and white, each of you is a bright, shining light in the gray. Thank you for everything you do, but thank you more for everything you are.

With gratitude,

Laura, Mac, Kearney, Hayley, Gus, and Walter

 
 
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