Thoughts on Building Relationship with the One Foundation

January, 2020

By Jenny Becksted-Smith,
Center Director of the New River Gorge Learning Co-op

Jenny and her son, Leo

Working with the One Foundation is a rare and inspiring endeavour, one where the boundaries found in a typical funder/recipient relationship are blurred if not completely dissolved by an animating force deeply rooted in love, light and relationship. The One Foundation inspires us to see the world through the lens of abundance and challenges us to ensure our choices for action are sourced from our heart-mind. They invite us to join with them, uniting our work in a shared aspiration for cultivating care for ourselves, others and the natural world. This focus on the heart, on spirit and on the web of connections that bind everyone and everything, allows us to join together, in sacred relationship, to intelligently and lovingly respond to the needs of our community.

Unlike many other foundation relationships, the One Foundation does not myopically focus on the bottom line, on the anticipated outputs and their clearly quantifiable outcomes. Rather, they want us to demonstrate how this partnership contributes to our organization’s stability and growth; how we are optimizing our resources in thoughtful and creative ways to bring us closer to the realization of our vision. They ask us to demonstrate a collective feeling of empowerment, a collaboration of beings who are committed to deep and lasting change within their community – change that comes from a compassionate response to our greatest needs, and is an antidote to fear, malaise, and an absence of hope. 

Though this process can feel esoteric and opaque at times, it is also incredibly encouraging to be given space for discourse on the sacred, permission to go inward for a meditative examination on the ‘why’ behind our work, and guidance to ensure we stay focused on the profound and lasting impact of our efforts. This special relationship allows us to explore, learn and grow through clearer understanding and deeper connection to what lies below the surface. For isn’t this the place from which real impact can be realized? 

Children learning at the New River Gorge Learning Co-op
Young children learning at the New River Gorge Learning Co-op

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