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Rockwood Institute

President's Message



I’m getting a little impatient about how much time it’s taking for humans to evolve. Really. It’s not as though we don’t know that everything is connected, that war and oppression are archaic and flawed, or that we can’t trash the planet without deep consequences to ourselves.  Many, many, many of us understand these things. It’s not rocket science. This. Is. Not. News.
There are days when I want to run out of my office screaming: “WAKE FREAKING UP!!!” Yep, I’m getting impatient. I’m utterly and completely bored of racism, hatefulness, littering and all the rest of the jankiness in the world - there are days when I am not happy AT ALL. And I know I’m not alone.
And then there are days when I remember that evolution is not linear. Change doesn’t happen all at once, and we’ve come a long way even in my lifetime. I live and work in ways that my mother could never have imagined. The air is cleaner now in California than when I was a child. I can marry whomever I choose in most states and some countries. These are big deals.
One of the challenges of being leaders in social transformation is balancing our desire to see immediate results from our work, and having the patience to take a longer view. In some ways, change seems like it should be easy - we don’t need anything to start acting with kindness and respect right this moment, or repair broken relationships, or feed those who are hungry. Literally - we can all volunteer to clean up a riverbank or pay just a little more so that workers at restaurants and fast-food joints can actually feed their own families. It’s not like we are lacking in expertise or even commitment. What’s taking so damn long?
Well, when I consider how long I sometimes take to learn a new lesson, I can have greater compassion for humans writ large. I’m sure that there have been many times when those who love me have wondered how long it was going to take me to learn a lesson that was clear to them and obtuse to me. I’m grateful that my family and community had the patience to not give up on me when I was struggling to shift long-standing patterns that were impeding my capacity to grow. I could only evolve at the pace that was right for me at the time.
When I remember this, I can relax, and let things take the time they need. The river only goes as fast as it does, despite my desperate paddling or remonstrating at the shore. No one of us is in charge of the pace of change – we are only in charge of our piece of it.
So it’s not about how far we get in a single day – what’s important is that we keep moving in the direction of growth and connection. My impatience really doesn’t help much. In fact it doesn’t help at all. So I’m going to work on being peaceful with what is. Right this moment. I’m going to breathe more and fuss less. I will keep working, even when the immediate results of my efforts are not clear to me. And, as we teach at Rockwood, I will remember to come from a place of partnership and compassion.
We are in momentous times, and I’m glad to be on another journey around the sun with you. As we move toward spring, may you be well, may you be happy, and may you be at peace.
From my heart to yours,
March 2015

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  upcoming trainings  



Reconnect With Your Purpose

Our Advanced Art of Leadership and Refresher trainings are great opportunities to revisit your vision, reconnect with your purpose, and refresh your leadership skills:

Advanced Art of Leadership
A 4-day training that builds on the skills and practices you gained in the Art of Leadership to take your leadership to the next level

• September 14-17, 2015 at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY
Trainers: José Acevedo and Leslie Sholl Jaffe
Apply Here

Strengthening the Practice: An Art of Leadership Refresher Program
Perfect for all grads of the Art of Leadership, whether you went through 10 years or 10 months ago. Strengthening the Practice is a short retreat that will top-up your leadership skills.

• Thursday, September  24-Friday, September 25, 2015 at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, CA.
Trainer: Maria Ramos-Chertok

Apply Here


Rockwood Leaders Changing the World

Amy Morris was named Program Director at The Fund for Global Human Rights.

Logan Phillips and his new book, Sonoran Strange, were featured in the Zócalo Magazine article, "Where the Thunder Is Born."

Ai-jen Poo, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi were included in The Washington Post piece, “What leading feminists want to accomplish this year.”

Dr. Sarah Kastelic became executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA).

Sandra Bass was appointed as Director of the UC Berkeley Public Service Center.

Melinda Fine is the new Vice President of NEO Philanthropy.

Malkia Cyril and many of Rockwood's Media Fellows were part of the fight for net neutrality.

Cristóbal Alex was featured in a piece about the org Latino Victory on NBC News.

Are you a Rockwood Alum? Send us your news.




Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A (Missed?) Philanthropic Opportunity

"Improving the world does not happen in the absence of strong, skilled and connected leaders" ~ Niki Jagpal and Ryan Schlegel, authors of NCRP's latest report

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) just released their newest report, Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A Missed Philanthropic Opportunity, which highlights the lack of investment in leadership development and the impact leadership investment makes on movement building strategies. It also features Rockwood and our alums alongside many other institutions and programs. Read the full report at NCRP's website.



Check Out Our Latest Posts


"The Nonprofit Four-Day Workweek: You Can Take Care of Yourself and Still Change the World" by Stacy Kono

One of the six practices we teach social change leaders here at Rockwood Leadership Institute is personal ecology: maintaining balance, pacing and efficiency to sustain your energy over a lifetime of activism. For the past seven years, we’ve found that a wonderful way to support our staff’s personal ecology is by instituting a four-day, 32-hour workweek. READ MORE »

"[Video] Rockwood Reflections: Meaghan Calcari Campbell" by Kierra Johnson

Meaghan Calcari Campbell is a program officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. She makes grants in marine conservation with a portfolio primarily in British Columbia. Meaghan first attended Rockwood’s Art of Leadership training in 2007 and her trainers were Michael Bell and Toby Herzlich. In 2014, she attended the Advanced Art of Leadership training and her trainers were Maria Ramos Chertok and Leslie Sholl Jaffe. READ MORE »


Akaya Windwood and Rockwood Alums Contribute to New Book

Rockwood's President, Akaya Windwood, is one of 20+ contributors to Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference produced by YES! Magazine and Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Other contributors include Rockwood alums Sarah van Gelder, Puanani Burgess, Jay Walljasper, Fania Davis, and Annie Leonard. 



Book Party for Alum Ai-Jen Poo

Americans are living longer than ever before: by 2035, the number of people over age 85 will more than double. In the face of this coming “age wave,” how can we build a culture that values our elders, and makes caring for them a priority?

In her new book, The Age of Dignity, Caring Across Generations, Rockwood alum Ai-jen Poo points to bold solutions that can help us better care for our loved ones as they age —and create millions of good jobs in the process.

Join her and event co-host Akaya Windwood April 24 at Impact Hub San Francisco for this free event, and become part of the conversation on aging in the US. RSVP today.


Over 5,000 in 2015

Rockwood turned 15 in February!

Thank you for being an integral part of our growth over the years. In 2014, Rockwood trained a diverse group of 500 leaders, increased our alumni network to 5,000, and reached an important milestone: over 50% of our alumni are people of color. Rockwood underwrites the majority of trainees by 50% to 75%, which makes it possible for hundreds of grassroots organizations to attend. If you are able, we would greatly appreciate your financial support in order to keep our trainings diverse and representative of all communities.





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