Message from the CEO
May 2021

At the end of April, Fair Chance held our annual Advisory Board Meeting and Town Hall. This was an opportunity to convene our various stakeholders – donors, nonprofit partners, staff, and friends of Fair Chance – to provide an update on our work in 2020 and share our strategic vision for 2021 and beyond.
Participants in one of the Break Out Room Discussions

The Town Hall also served as a space for the Fair Chance community to connect on key issues facing the sector. We had our participants discuss trends in charitable giving during the pandemic and what makes for good relationships between donors and nonprofit organizations. The conversation culminated in a fun thought exercise where we shared the advice we would give Mackenzie Scott about giving in the Washington region. The scenario was hypothetical, but the advice below from the breakout groups is universal:

Funders should…

  • Partner with organizations that are led by and employ members of the community
  • Learn the context and history of the community you look to support
  • Support solutions that address systemic issues
  • Invest in the capacity of the organization, not just the programming

I am grateful for the wisdom that surrounds Fair Chance. I hope these insights are helpful to you as you consider how you can support the nonprofit service providers in your community.

And a special thank you to Fair Chance alumni partner Words Beats & Life for sharing the poetry of Salihah Sasa Aakil, Montgomery County Youth Poet Laureate, with our Town Hall attendees. Click here to watch Salihah perform her poem.

In Service,


Gretchen Van der Veer, PhD
Chief Executive Officer