Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." No one knew that better than the woman who spoke those words, the activist, author and educator, Helen Keller.
For more than 29 years, The Pro Bono Project has been the daring adventure of my life - there was no road map when I began. Organizations like The Project were just coming online in the mid-1980s and it was a unique challenge at the time. Today, more than 1,000 similar organizations exist across the country - we were among the pioneers.
Now, I am ready to take on a new 'daring adventure.'
So it is with a mixture of sadness, joy and enthusiasm that I announce my retirement as Executive Director of The Pro Bono Project, effective December 31, 2015.
Why now, you may ask?
2015 has been an extraordinary year for The Project - we have had so many great successes:
- Early in the year, our results from GiveNOLA Day passed the $10,000 mark, including a gift from a law firm for the first time;
- Late in the year, we have received several new grants bringing the organization's funds to $700,000+ to close out 2015 and enabling us to go further to meet the civil legal needs in the six parishes we serve;
- Finally, we had a spectacular Justice For All Ball, exceeding our 2015 goal by almost $20,000.
We have opened the doors for more than 2,200 people this year - solving their legal problems and enabling them to move forward on the 'daring adventure' of their lives.
Because of these successes, and so many more this year, I feel the time is right for me to pursue my next 'daring adventure' - to take what I have learned here over these 29+ years and apply it elsewhere in my life.
As many of you know, I am passionate about yoga, and in the past few months, opportunities have presented themselves to me that have caused me to pause and ask the question, "If not now, when?"
"Now" seems to be the right answer. The Board has graciously accepted my decision to retire, and so, I begin the next chapter of my life's 'daring adventure.'
Carole Cukell Neff, as Board Chair, and the Executive Committee have begun a national search for a new Executive Director. In the interim, I will be available to the Board as needed to ensure continuity as we move into 2016. The Project is the strongest it has ever been.
To build on the organization's many successes and strengthen it further, The Project will need the continued strong leadership and efforts of each and every one of you and the new Executive Director.
I am proud of the work that I and so many of the lawyers, paralegals, staff, business professionals, law students and lay persons have done since I took the reins of The Project in 1986.
During these many years, The Project has served as a trailblazer and role model for communities across the country, while continuously finding new ways to respond the needs of our citizens. We have reinvented ourselves as needs have changed, and as we've been affected by a barrage of natural and man-made disasters.
Through it all, we have helped to raise the profile of pro bono work and have opened doors to the civil justice system for tens of thousands of individuals and families in our six-parish community.
While my work at The Project is coming to a close, there is still much to be done. I know that I can count on you all and incoming Chair Norm Rubenstein to continue to "fight the good fight" for those who need someone to open the doors to civil legal justice.
Thank you for a wonderful and fulfilling 29+ years!
With warm regards,