Friday, December 20, 2013

Gratitude & Hope-Non-Profit Roundtable

The December Non-Profit Roundtable meeting was all about celebrating 2013, expressing gratitude for what has been beneficial and exemplary in our work and personal lives, discarding that which is burdening us, and carrying forward what is good.

 We began by sharing one professional activity or development that occurred during the year for which we were thankful. Following this brief introduction, we engaged in three incredible activities:

Activity One - Gratitude Leads to Happiness

First we watched the following SoulPancake video: Then we wrote our own brief letters or paragraphs expressing our gratitude about something, or to someone who has made a difference in our lives and/or profession. As part of our discussion, everyone voluntarily shared their letter. There was as much happiness in hearing others’ gratitude as there was in sharing our own. The conversation also noted how poorly we accept thanks or appreciation from others. A side activity would be to have each person in a group stand up and be honored for her/his special contributions. The honoree would not be able to respond or wave away the gratitude or praise, but simply generously receive it and take it in.

Activity Two - Burdens-Be-Gone

Recognizing that we often carry the burden of our mistakes, hurts, fears and confusions with us from day-to-day, month-to-month and even year-to-year, we agreed that this was a good time to let go of some of them. Each participant wrote on a piece of paper three different things that happened to him/her, either professionally or personally during 2013, that they wanted to release and let go. Without showing what we had written to others, we then folded the pieces of paper and put them all into a pot. Then we set them on fire! We literally burned away our burdens, shames, and upsets until they were ashes to be discarded. Initially, this activity was met with some skepticism, but during the burning, there was a great sense of catharsis. The worries, concerns, inadequacies and mistakes of the past year were gone -- never to be mentioned or thought of again.

Activity Three - Hope

Having energized our positivity with the gratitude activity, and having discarded our burdens, we were ready to move toward the future. In this activity, we each wrote down on three separate pieces of paper, three different positive actions, activities or practices from 2013 that we want to carry forward into 2014. We were all encouraged to keep these on hand, and to refer to them regularly, to keep ourselves on a positive track.

It is the pleasure of the Non-Profit Roundtable to share these powerful activities with the Oakland Chamber and Non-profit communities and encourage organizations and companies to perform one or all three of the activities. Individuals can do them on their own, as well.

Before, during and after the activities and conversation, participants enjoyed some delicious snacks, wine and other beverages to salute 2013 and open our arms to 2014.

We also took time to express our deep gratitude for the service and support we’ve received from Joe Haraburda, who is retiring from the Chamber of Commerce. Most Chambers of Commerce do not have anything like our Nonprofit Roundtable, and we thank Joe for his years of support. All of us from the Roundtable also give our thanks and appreciation to Paul Junge, who is leaving also leaving the Chamber. We with only the best to both Joe and Paul.

Special thank you to door prize donors Regus Executive Suites (, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (, CARD (, Cerebral Palsey Center for the Bay Area ( and DIVAS with Sol (, and everyone for bringing snacks and food.


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The next Oakland Chamber Non-Profit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 21, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. Please join us in a conversation on how we can make the best use of our Chamber membership and planning for success.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (



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