A Reunion for All of Us

“We don’t want to be stars, but parts of constellations.” Gloria Anzaldùa

Threshold Philanthropy was created to practice and innovate ways of living in more connection, joy, and alignment with our freedom dreams. From inception, Morgan and Lindsay had talked about having collective gatherings, as being an integral part of building collective liberation. Most philanthropy convenings favor CEOs and people in senior positions to attend, which often leads to more siloed conversations and actions that reinforce oppressive power dynamics and harmful unintended consequences at work and in community. Morgan and Lindsay’s vision was to invite our vendors, funded partners, vetted philanthropy/foundation members, and thought partners together. Creating an intentional space where we could come together as more than just our job titles and labor, to ideate across class, culture, identity, and fields of work etc.

A step towards leveling the playing field meant including those who traditionally have been left out of these conversations and assemblies. Nonprofits, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, IT folks, community organizers, and artists. Everyone attending would only have their name and pronouns on their name tags and not where they worked and their position. This homecoming will be about deepening relationships, cross pollinating ideas, honoring each other, and collective dreaming rooted in gratitude, celebration, reciprocity, and radical imagination. An antidote to the oppressive, violent, extractive, and exclusionary society and economy that we live under.

This past April, Morgan and Lindsay got to see one of their first seeds come to fruition! We called it Reunion. Definitions we enjoyed for reunion were, to unite, rejoin, come back together, harmonize, and to be whole and healed. There are a LOT of feelings about reunions, whether they be family, college, work, friends and more. For the people that know what we’re talking about and for those first timers we’re going to share Morgan’s mom’s video, that we sent to everyone that was going to attend Reunion, so that they could get the vibe. We also sent them some prework, re-rooting therapy and remembering community, Unpacking Legacy Burdens through Collective Spaces and Sister Outsider, so that folks could familiarize themselves with the themes, ideas, and energy that we would be working with for the three days that we would be together.

Reunion was Threshold Philanthropy’s offering for rest, regeneration, and the remembering that our collective healing and well-being are more possible when we have had the space to pause, reflect, and resource ourselves. Every detail was rooted in love and care. We held Reunion at Salish Lodge & Spa because we wanted to return resources to Indigenous community and because it is a breath-taking location. When asked what a memorable moment was from our first full day, a participant answered, “Opening the door to my room, it was so beautiful, I’ve never felt this cared for.” Whether you were the back-end crew, CEO, program team, assistant, ED, or resident storyteller, we all got a gorgeous room, nutritious food, access to body work, and nurturing, creative activities.

Our roomy daily agendas were comprised of community TED Talks by our elders, visionaries, and healers. Vivian Phillips talked about trusting and being held in community. Noel Pacarro Brown shared that true wealth lives in the quality and richness of relationships, and Stacy Torres reminded and taught us that conflict is natural, and how we can show up grounded and with loving boundaries when tensions and conflicts arise.  Nitya Wakhlu illustrated each session with a clarity and memory that is on a clairvoyant level! Afternoon and evening communal luxury activities were flower arranging with  Hannah Morgan, massages by Chandra Pugh, acupuncture with  Reya Born, Qigong with Chenoa Egawa, bead work with Cynthia Masterson and spaciousness to opt out entirely and or choose something not on the menu.

Most of our meals, you were free to sit with anyone and encouraged to meet someone new. Others were planned so that folks with similar interests could share experiences and strategize with one another. Morgan pointed out that we want our ecosystem to continue to thrive beyond us. As Noel said, our wealth is measured in relationships, wealth in isolation is toxic. That is why we are breaking that dam of isolation and letting the flow of relationships take the lead. We encountered some ouch, oops, mistakes and learning moments, as often happens when we come together. Deep gratitude to all of you who offered loving feedback and grace for us. We will continue to iron out the kinks with care and accountability, while knowing that we will make different mistakes. That is what it means to innovate, reflect, and reimagine together.

For each of you that gave of your time, activists, healers, practitioners, thinkers, artists, and guardians of our movements, may you always know that you are welcome as you are. Know that you are made of magic and all that you carry can be a superpower. Whether wisdom, anger, loss, sweetness, healthy skepticism, love, and stubbornness, wield each with dignity, responsibility, and care. The way is through, and how we get there is together.

“The idea of keeping our community safe from harm through the practices of abundance, love, joy, and welcoming each other as whole people is deeply rooted in the cultural practices of many Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color who find ways to survive in the United States.” Shira Hassan

Gratitude and appreciations from Reunion:

“It was a big surprise to see the number of funded partners that you all are working with and supporting. The intentional and intimate nature of my relationship with you all, I thought that there would be 15 – 20 people here. How you all manage to hold each of us with so much care and humility is remarkable.”

“These conversations were some of the most authentic conversations that I’ve been able to have. When people know that you’re a funder, there is immediately a power shift and dynamic that often makes the conversations and relationships transactional. Because no one knows what I do, I’m able to share my passions and listen to other’s’ without expectations and tensions. You do not know what a gift that has been for me!”

“The waterfall, the story of this place, and the spaciousness of the days gave me the opportunity to reflect on what I needed to be well and cared for. Stillness is a resource.”

I can’t thank you and your team enough for such an amazing opportunity❤️. We couldn’t stop talking about it on our 3 hour ride home, and we kept messaging each other all weekend.  We had a small staff gathering the week after we returned. We joyfully integrated some of the practices that we participated in during the Reunion, as well as shared incredible nuggets of wisdom and inspiration that we gathered.  I must say that I came back feeling refreshed, inspired and hopeful (I have also talked to anyone who will listen about the amazing work that is happening). The space that Threshold held for all of us was such a gift.  

“I feel inspired, connected, seen and loved in community like I have never felt before.” 

I just wanted to reach out and say thank you so so much to you both (and the whole Threshold team!) who created and provided such a truly healing, recharging, beautiful, and impactful time at the retreat. Life has been absolutely exhausting in all the weird and wonderful ways but that was the reset I had no idea I was going to get and I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect with everyone else! It was so lovely to hear all the speakers and get to hear about the other orgs’ important work! It was truly a blessing to feel part of such a dope and POWERFUL squad of orgs and I just wanted to thank you and the whole team for creating such a beautiful experience. It was FLAWLESS! <333333333

“Thank you for being trustworthy.”

*Artwork by our beloved Liz Rideau

* A Strategy Framework for A Just Transition model developed by Movement Generation with Climate Justice Alliance

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