ANNUAL REPORT 2017
& ENCOURAGING INDIVIDUALITY
LETTER FROM OUR CEO
Working for a non-profit and in the field of developmental disabilities for over two decades, I can convincingly attest that the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was right when he said that “change is the only constant in life.” No truer statement could be said about this past year. Just when you think everything is in place and your course is set for the future, you are faced with changes that cause you to reflect and plan for this new path.
As we started 2017, we had a seasoned administrative team with a collective tenure at the agency of 45 years. Over the course of the year, two of the Directors, Finance and Development, were offered positions with other organizations that presented advancement opportunities with the skills they had gained at Alpha. While happy to see these individuals, who had worked their way up the ladder at Alpha, advance in their careers, it is difficult to see years of experience walk out the door. A third Director, Human Resources, will be leaving later this year to move to another state with her family. As a result, we learn to adapt and change, looking at these as opportunities to bring in new talent, innovative ideas and the possibility of challenging the way we have done things for years. As George Bernard Shaw said, “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
And so, we enter 2018 with the realization that what we have mapped out for the near future may change in response to so many factors. In 2017, we collaboratively developed a new Strategic Plan, which provides guidance to our agency over the next five years. Key areas of focus include growing our fundraising efforts and building our brand, diversifying and cultivating leadership and investing in administration, being the regional employer of choice in our field, and leveraging program excellence. With that said, flexibility is key, as the best laid plans may encounter unexpected obstacles and opportunities along the way.
PROGRESS IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT CHANGE, AND THOSE CANNOT CHANGE THEIR MINDS CANNOT CHANGE ANYTHING.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
We have major initiatives for modernizing our technology through the creation of our client database, transition to a new digital documentation system and preparing for changes to our timekeeping system to meet stringent new requirements. However, this could change if necessary capital grants are not secured. We also have great ideas for continued expansion of our Supported Living program, with a focus on Snohomish County and North King County. However, this could all change if hiring and retention of employees worsens due to legislative funding not keeping pace with the cost of living. We know from having successfully navigated three mergers, the acquisition of a contract in Snohomish County, the recession a decade ago, and the continued changing landscape of the services we provide, we have the skills and contingency plans in place to weather whatever may come our way.
Flexibility and adaptability are key for a successful non-profit and if this last year has proven anything, it is that we must always keep our focus on our mission and adapt when faced with change. As the British philosopher and writer Alan Watts wrote, “the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” And so, we dance!