Dear Share Our Strength and Community Wealth Partners colleagues:
I want to piggyback this brief note onto Chuck’s email yesterday (about our $50,000 grant to the Houston Food Bank in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation) because I am so proud he and his team acted quickly in response to the need in Houston and because it was not only the right thing to do but also represents an often overlooked dimension of strategy.
An event like Hurricane Harvey often poses a dilemma about whether we can respond without distracting or diverting ourselves from our strategy. But that can be a false choice and a misunderstanding of where strategy’s power lies. Strategy should allocate and align an organization’s resources against its top priorities – in our case, our No Kid Hungry campaign. But strategy should also reflect and reinforce the values of an organization and its team. Those two definitions can be at tension if you let them be, but for great organizations strategy is both. It always will be for us, and that’s why we responded and will continue to respond to the unfolding situation in Texas and Louisiana.
Effective strategy can’t be formulaic. It must adapt to changing circumstances while remaining on course toward goal. And it must reflect and express the values of those implementing it – values of compassion, community and generosity. So it is incumbent on each of us to not only stay focused on our priorities but to look up from what we are doing and connect it to what is going on in the world.
We’ve had an incredibly positive response to our grant to the Houston Food Bank from some of our most valued stakeholders. And it comes shortly after grants we made to Save The Children and others to save lives in Syria and Somalia and deliver school meals in Haiti. Such grants are only a small fraction of our budget, but a large part of the values we embody. That makes them strategic too.