Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
One of the qualities that makes this nation great is our ability to come together in times of crisis. Whether it was the Twin Tower destruction in New York City, nature’s rampage in New Orleans and environs or the recent devastation in Haiti, our people set aside their often strident differences and unites in focusing on their inherent compassion for those who were hurting. Have you noticed that we are seeing some of that same concern in the emerging conduct of our national, state and local affairs? As we struggle to extricate ourselves from this nation’s most serious economic depression in seventy years, we are witnessing this same spirit of an ultimate oneness in maximizing the effectiveness of our democratic processes. Solutions do not come from an inflexible polarization of issues. We are beginning to understand that by bringing differing opinions to a common table for a collaborative solution, we enhance the opportunity to hasten the return to national economic normalcy for all among us. That, in brief, is the ongoing mission of the Fresno Business Council.
“Compete”—From the Latin—To Strive Together
In many arenas, we are learning that we must collaborate to be able to compete. Human development—our ability to better ourselves and our culture—has been a central focus for decades. One region, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, has crafted a framework that has gained the attention of major foundations, government and other communities. Their website is www.strivetogether.org. Some of you may remember Stan Oken’s efforts to promote Whole Child. Dr. James Comer put an entire system together to be integrated into schools to develop the whole child and many have done so with strong results. How do we scale and accelerate what have been outlier performances in individual cells to permeate and transform the whole system? Strive Together may well have pulled together the intellectual, financial and social capital to make it happen and like Roger Bannister, may have broken through a barrier that releases many others to do so. Collaboration and values are central to their efforts:
Strive Together includes:
• the educators who teach;
• the nonprofits who support teaching and well-being;
• the philanthropies that provide financial support to both;
• the elected officials who create policy change;
• and the corporations who need a local, skilled workforce.
Participants believe that education:
• must be holistic, because what happens outside of school is just important as what happens inside of school;
• providers must be accountable and make decisions based on data;
• is a cradle to career endeavor, and that working together is key to eliminating the “cracks” that children might fall through;
• must be fair so that every child, regardless of circumstance, can find the support they need to achieve their dreams.