2017 Executive Director & Chairman's Letter
Community and peace of mind; it is at our core. It is our soul and it is who we are. Well before we opened our doors 23 years ago, our founders believed that “community” was essential to living one’s best life. RiverWoods was built and community formed. Over the years, as the physical community grew and changed, our nonphysical community grew stronger. As it turns out, community is more about the non-tangibles than it is about the physical environment. For us, community is our culture, it is our desire to learn with each other, to advocate with each other, to support each other and in doing so, bold ideas emerge. This year, one of those bold ideas turned into a guiding philosophy.
Two years ago, our residents came together to form a goal group on diversity with a mandate to learn about diversity within our community and to understand how the broader cultural dialogue might impact our community. Over the course of time, the group became convinced that they should change their focus from “diversity” to “inclusivity” as this put the focus on our common humanity rather than our differences. This group of residents drafted an Inclusivity Philosophy Statement as an extension of our Charitable Intent Philosophy. Together, the two set a framework for our moral obligations as an organization, defined a path for our initiatives and guided our actions.
We put into action our inclusivity philosophy when we, residents and staff, participated in the Portsmouth Pride Parade. Our participation in the parade was a bold statement. Our actions and advocacy in the parade precipitated several inclusivity forums in which we discussed our fears, our differences, our commonalities and how we continue to stretch our understanding of each other and our communities to make us better. We as a community advocated for inclusion and we as a community supported each other’s differing viewpoints through the forums. We learn every day through our work as a community. Our inclusivity philosophy is just one example where bold ideas generated from residents have created initiatives and actions that have resulted in opportunities for learning about new kinds of community. Our history is built on learning, on teaching, on creating new opportunities. We continue to honor our history while living in the moment and preparing for the future. Together we make a difference; together we create new opportunities for community. We were born for this, it is who we are.