After ten years, Elfenworks continues to define itself as an iconoclastic 501.c.3 Foundation. Before American poverty and inequality were topics of polite conversation, we focused our efforts in that arena, and we feel we made some good progress, in partnership with many partners. Staying true to our very American core values of radical optimism and bleeding edge hope, and in light of new data[1], we revisited our Strategic Plan, following our November 2016 Board Meeting, for a strategic shift.

Rather than contract or turn inward in discord and despair, we feel called to expand outwards and brighten. Now is the time for clarifying and amplifying our message of harmony and hope. We will be intentional about our outreach to a world in need of a message of resilient hope

Over the next few years, we will also be intentional about reaching groups likely to be targets of hate – with bullying and worse – here at home.  For example, we’ll work hard to spread the word about our Spanish-language Breathing Butterfly resource.  We’ll work with Elfenworks Productions, LLC to fast-track a translation of the social entrepreneurship methodology into new languages, and we’ll work hard to spread the word about our free ECNISC resource, helping nonprofits stay resilient and robust, by reaching out to the press. We will also reach out to venues where CMF student films on understanding, anti-bullying, and other love-not-hate message themed films can be shown. We will follow-up and spread the word, intentionally.

Our initial concern about uplifting people from poverty remains a core value. Our CEO’s dissertation advisor Dr. Ray Bakke reminds us that “what the poor need is information and technology transfer. That is what they really need.”  He goes on to suggest a focus on cities, stating that, “Cities are, in fact, the amplifying speakers in every culture, and it is sound strategy (paraphrase: to focus there); the ripples will be felt across the countryside.” [2]  The United Nations expects two thirds of the world population to live in cities by 2050. So, we’ll look to forge partnerships in important international cities, disseminating our proven methodology, for the greatest reach, staying aware of geopolitics, moving with deliberate speed and caution.

Between 2017 and 2023, we’ll delve deeply into our Seven Pillar methodology, by taking one pillar at a time, starting with VISION, and our new Strategic Plan. For each of the next years after 2017, we will focus on one of the six remaining pillars in our social entrepreneurship methodology, as follows: 2018 – Pillar 2 – Special Skills. Review and bolster a team with a strong core skill-set, and put to good use any additional skills that new team members bring on board. 2019 – Pillar 3 – Non-duplication. We strive to fill a vacuum, bringing best practices to bear. Focused review: anywhere we’re no longer needed?    2020 – Pillar 4Partnership.  Add new partnerships judiciously, but cherish our long-term friends.  2021 – Pillar 5 – Credit Sharing. Generosity of spirit helps you go far; we’ll look back over time, for opportunities we may have missed. 2022 – Pillar 6Feedback. Measurement and metrics include feedback milestones by which the team will attempt to measure project impact and success.  Take a hard look throughout all our projects over time, for what we can learn. 2023 – Pillar 7 – Staying Power. When we stay the course, we’ll grow in effectiveness. We’ve been hope bearers since prior to the Great Recession, and hope will still be our North Star. We’ll revisit our Strategic Plan, with an eye towards long-term staying power. 

As deToqueville once said, “America is great because America is good.”  We need to stay great by staying good. We extend grateful thanks to everyone who has been supportive these last ten years…   thanks in advance for your continued support!

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[1]  867 hate crimes and harrassment since the United States Presidential Election through November 29, 2016. Most were anti-immigrant (280), followed by anti-black (187), anti-semitic (100), anti-LGBT (95), anti-Muslim (49), and anti-woman (40). Some reports included multiple categories. California is atop the list. https://www.splcenter.org/20161129/ten-days-after-harassment-and-intimidation-aftermath-election  https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/18/update-incidents-hateful-harassment-election-day-now-number-701  – Online and accessed November 28, 2016.

[2] Bakke, Raymond. A Biblical Word for an Urban World, Messages from the 1999 World Mission Conference. Valley Forge: Board of International Ministries, American Baptist Churches in the USA.  2000. pp 34, 87.