When I came to the Sonoran Institute 21 months ago, we set a plan in motion for the first 500 days. I can report to you that in those 500 days:
- We finalized and began to implement a new strategic plan, the 2040 Vision, with a sharper focus on applying our skills and resources to our mission – ensuring people have the tools to build the communities they want to live in, while preserving the values which brought them to the North American West;
- Thanks to you–our donors, partners, and supporters–we brought the organization’s finances into balance through the 25th Anniversary Campaign;
- With the best staff and board in the West, we are strengthening our culture of teamwork and accountability both internally and in the communities we serve.
I am very excited about the future of the West and the Sonoran Institute! Our organization is entering the next 25 years with a clear vision and confidence in its mission and approach. There is no other organization better positioned to shape the future of Western communities and improve the lives of millions of people.
Every year, the Sonoran Institute re-dedicates its staff, programs and resources to preserving Western landscapes, Western communities, Western families and the natural resources that nourish and sustain us. This year we will:
- Design and launch a new program to empower local communities to contribute to healthy watersheds and their own economic prosperity. Our work throughout the desert southwest and Colorado River Basin will help connect the management of available water resources with future land use planning.
- Equip grass roots leaders, particularly those that represent underserved communities, to plan for and adapt to climate change. Every locale that prepares for the impacts of climate change advances the resiliency of the entire West in the face of urban growth, drought, wildfires and flooding.
- Lead the ecological restoration, cultural preservation and economic development in the Colorado River Delta and the Santa Cruz River. The historic re-watering and restoration of the Delta demonstrates the Sonoran Institute’s singular ability to transform an ecosystem and surrounding communities.
- Deliver models of collaboration and leadership to decision-makers, partners and stakeholders. The Sonoran Institute has built deep relationships and solid coalitions over the past 25 years to address growth, economic development, climate change and natural resource management.
Our challenges are our opportunities.
Can we act quickly enough to avoid the severe consequences of over-allocation of Colorado River water?
Can we expand our community outreach far enough to help a broad spectrum of communities prepare for the uncertainties of climate change?
Can we apply our talents and leadership widely enough to continue to transform the Colorado River Delta and revive the Santa Cruz?
Can we be resourceful enough to encourage the West’s varied economic sectors, political beliefs, jurisdictions, geographic borders and ecological systems to work together to build a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren?
Please help me answer these questions with an emphatic “yes!”.
And please consider donating to the Sonoran Institute this summer. To borrow from Gandhi, your generous contributions to the work of the Sonoran Institute allow you to be part of the change we all want to see in the West.
Thank you again for sharing our vision and investing in our future.
Blog Post By: Stephanie Sklar, Sonoran Institute
Stephanie Sklar is the Chief Executive Officer of the Sonoran Institute.