At the end of this year’s Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building, we gave each attendee a blank sheet of paper and asked them to complete the following sentence.

When I leave this conference, I will _____________.

The responses range from personal commitments to pledges to challenge organizations to vows to raise awareness. They are as diverse as the attendees themselves. We hope that as you read these commitments, you’ll become as inspired and energized to advocate change as the people who wrote them.


…not be afraid to ask why and why not in everything I do at my job AND in my personal life. I will be a part of the ongoing, ever-changing solution to making life better for the people I interact with every day. I will NOT just maintain the status quo.

…lobby my state representatives to encourage Indiana to accept Medicaid expansion.

…kiss my baby and try hard to make sure she is not one of the “others,” i.e. hungry, homeless, etc.

…talk to any organization willing to listen to how hunger impacts their clients/employees.

…commit to introducing a holistic approach to pantries and SNAP outreach. We have to do more than supply “food;” we need to feed the WHOLE individual.

…look at the food pantry in my community center to determine if we are meeting the needs of the community.

…think outside the box to create a unique and holistic solution.

…use our community center as a one-stop shop with information on housing, medical help, food insecurity, and other needs.

…build a better Blackford County.

…strive to create quality programs based on teen and parent needs. These programs will serve as a means to provide educational opportunities that will level the playing field and move toward the eradication of under-education of parents and teenagers.

…be innovative in my efforts and not rely on the way things have always been done.

…continue to advocate for older adults.

…personally change my blogging ratio, and up the posts on issues of social justice.

…identify the key intervention points and direct resources to those places.

…further research the Clearinghouse Project to learn from the outcomes and see what we can utilize.

…attempt to make my career in the nonprofit industry after graduation, even though it means a smaller income.

…make sure I have the right people at the table.

…use data to be more intentional in reaching groups that are not presently at the table but should be.

…get the parents more involved with their children’s growth.

…help parents to understand the importance of education.

…engage more qualified volunteers to assist with the children and monitor their growth through education while also identifying weaknesses and strengths of our tutoring program.

…try to understand how my efforts now will affect my service area 20 years from now.

…commit to investing more resources to fully develop and utilize our volunteer program, so I can dedicate and maximize volunteer efforts in health and education initiatives.

…work harder and be more effective at finding strategic partnerships that benefit my community.

…look for ways to educate others on the programs. Greater awareness means more people can get involved.

…refocus on social enterprise.

…become more involved in hunger in the community and start the discussion to have a Food Fair.

…work on moving from a service-focus to an empowerment-focus in my nonprofit work.

…use the data/assessments I already have in more effective ways.

…advocate on behalf of clients and organizations doing amazing work to combat poverty in a frequent, intentional way.

…continue to be a change agent in the community.

…make an effort to be more collaborative in my life and work toward building relationships with neighbors that I do not know.

…build stronger strategic collaborations and make better use of social media.

…work housing into our health activities since housing can be a safe, healthy place to live or a very unhealthy, stressful place to live.

…implement what I learned today while advocating for residents of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority.

…focus my intention on speaking to the right people and taking the correct steps towards the future of comprehensive sex education and awareness of sexual assault and rape.

…go back to my community and share what I learned so that we can make changes to improve in different areas.

…start by bringing my ideas to the table!

…question data.

…be an advocate for change.

…push myself and everyone around me to swim in the Blue Ocean and not get stuck in the Red Ocean.

…look for more collaborations that fill the needs of my program, my agency, and my community.

…think about what we need to STOP doing.

…work with my center’s management team to move us into a Blue Ocean.

…read more and learn more about the complexity of education and its needs.

…find new ways to collaborate with more community members for the benefit of my students’ education.

…work to create a more intentional system of data collection so we have a comprehensive picture of the outcomes and impact of our program.

…work toward a renewed focus on understanding best practices for after-school curriculum.

…continue to be a voice for the poor and under-privileged in the community.

…be a voice for those who are fearful of city administrators.

…work hard to make sure no one “learns” again.

…become a networking superstar and put together amazing partnerships.

…think on a Blue Ocean level to transition from being service-minded to empowerment-minded.

…stay in touch with this conference.

…make an intentional effort to collaborate with key stakeholders to provide services most beneficial for the success of students.

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