A Heartfelt Year-End Thanks & Gratitude from Easterseals CEO
Posted on December 12th, 2016 by Randall Rutta, President and CEO
We at Eastereals have a lot to be grateful for this year … our Easterseals families, our friends, countless donors and volunteers, our staff, our advocacy and many corporate and community partners. And what better time to pause for a moment, and widely express our thanks, than during this holiday season.
Starting on #GivingTuesday, Easterseals launched its month of gratitude, with many of our clients stepping up to share their stories and literally take over our social media feeds. Take a look. We’re getting a heartfelt response from so many, and I thought I’d join in and offer up my own musings — and gratitude — from life on the inside of this 100-year-young heritage brand.
2016 was a landmark year for Easterseals. We introduced our new brand, along with other exciting changes; we celebrated the achievements of children and adults at our 75 Easterseals across the country, and we forged and fostered incredible partnerships that helped us advance our purpose to change the way the world defines and views disabilities. Here, our team has captured 16 of our top moments, in no particularly order.
I am so proud of each and every success this year, and owe a debt of gratitude to all of our friends who help make those moments, and so many more, a reality. Generous gifts — whether large or small, tried and true, or even groundbreaking in their unique approach to philanthropy – from millions of people each year drive Easterseals to make a profound, positive difference in people’s lives everyday.
I would, however, like to add a 17th moment to that list for good measure, acknowledging a game-changing social investment and effort to usher in a new Easterseals for the 21st century. Just two years from now, Easterseals will celebrate its centennial anniversary. In that lead up, Easterseals is launching a comprehensive strategic planning initiative to set far-reaching goals and a plan to achieve a bold vision for people with disabilities.
I am grateful to our supporters who make these types of efforts possible. In particular, I greatly appreciate the support of the George and Betty Harbaugh Foundation for expanding access to essential services and supports to our nation’s veterans and their families, and in 2016, making a Program-Related Investment loan to significantly strengthen our organization’s capacity to advance innovation, excellence and growth of services for people with disabilities and their families.
Easterseals recently launched a comprehensive, strategic transformation project. The path forward will engage all of Easterseals decision-makers and stakeholders — 33,000 staff, 42,000 volunteers, national/community partners, and 1.5 million people and families served this year alone. Together, with a nationally-recognized expert advisor, we’re crafting a compelling 21st century vision to affect change and positively impact exponentially more people’s lives.
It is partnerships and innovative support, like this, that make all the difference. And for that, I am forever grateful.