Today is Thanksgiving, so I want to express some gratitude to a community of colleagues here in Massachusetts.
I started the “Mission-Based Massachusetts” (MBM for short) email list in 2005, in order to provide a forum for people who care about nonprofit, philanthropic, educational, community-based, grassroots, socially responsible, and other mission-oriented organizations here in the Bay State.
My inspiration for starting the MBM list (and several other projects) was a series of conversations with Tim Gassert of the Boston Foundation, starting in about 2003. We agreed that nonprofits in Massachusetts needed some sort of online tool that would help them stay current with each other about upcoming events, best practices, and available resources. At the time, I hoped that a highly reputable institution, such as TBF or Third Sector New England, would take on the task, but neither was able to espouse the cause. (Later, when the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network was organized, I hoped that MNN would sponsor it, but had no luck there either.)
It didn’t seem to me that an individual should take on such a critical task, but in 2005, I hunkered down to the task of creating, moderating, recruiting members for, and maintaining the MBM list as a lone volunteer. Fortunately, my friend John McNutt (then living in Massachusetts, but now teaching at the University of Delaware) kindly volunteered to be the alternate moderator, thus allowing me to take some urgently needed breaks.
I’m deeply grateful for the way that MBM members have coalesced into a peer network, a group of people who are helping each other make the world a better place. People constantly tell me in person or email me how much they have benefited from participating in this community. They thank me, but the truth is that it weren’t for each of them, the Mission-Based Massachusetts group would not be thriving in this way. I also believe that as a community, they have greatly benefited the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts, and the many people served by the sector.
It takes a lot of effort to maintain the MBM list, but I’m not really a lone individual anymore. In addition to John (to whom I’m deeply grateful), and Tim (who continues to inspire me) I have more than 1,400 colleagues in group who are helping me and each other. It is indeed an occasion for gratitude!