A final farewell to the Community Foundation from retiring director | Letters

I am two weeks into retirement already and am finally getting around to writing the love letter that I meant to compose before leaving the employ of the Community Foundation.

Nine years ago a recruitment committee composed of Charles Anderson, Carla Wright, Krista Mattox, and Wendy Wood did me the great good favor of hiring me as the first paid employee of the foundation. Thinking it would be a lazy, part-time, semi-retirement type of job, I gratefully accepted. Within days of accepting the job offer, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind working full time instead. And seven years later I was asked to be the foundation’s first executive director. So much for that semi-retirement idea.

But I believe no person on earth has been happier or more fulfilled in a job. I wish I could spend the rest of this letter naming names, telling stories, thanking each and every donor, board member, nonprofit employee/volunteer for making this job such a daily delight.

Instead, I will just encourage every San Juan Islander to spend time to get to know your Community Foundation. You have every reason to be proud of your foundation, to appreciate their counsel, sound investments, and support of community endeavors that ensure the quality of life on this island.

The foundation is now poised on the brink of a new era as Carrie Unpingco takes over the reins as executive director, supported by Development Director Michel Vekved and new front office staff. Two new board members begin their service with the first 2016 quarterly board meeting in January, while other long-serving board members provide the continuity and history to ensure that the original mission continues to be fulfilled.

Foremost among all those who have brought the foundation to a position of strength and trust in the community is Board Chair Charles Anderson. While he may object to my singling him out in this letter, the recognition of his contributions for well over 10 years is beyond overdue.

There are no words sufficient enough to convey the breadth, width and depth of his selfless service. This is true for other board members, as well. For all their volunteer work they receive no pay other than the gratitude they well deserve and the satisfaction of weaving together the strands that become the strong fabric of a healthy community.

To all involved over the years – thank you again for the gift of this long association. I love and respect you all.

Susan Matthews

Friday Harbor