My son will turn 23 in a few weeks.
We were chatting over Thanksgiving and he lamented his upcoming birthday, “I can’t believe I’ll be 23 – time’s just moving too fast.” (Gulp! If he only knew!) I reminded him he has his whole life in front of him and that time is on his side. Time to enjoy life, experience new things, shape his future. And, time to create his legacy of who he is and what his impact on the world will be.
This December marks the final month of service of two long-term board members, Mckay Jenkins and Al Todd. Both served on our board for 6 years, with Al serving as Chair for 3 of those years. Mckay is the guy who walks the talk, taking aleadership role in tree plantings and native species removals across Baltimore. Al was part of IPC even before I arrived in 2013, having been part of a foundational group that helped establish the organization. His vast connections throughout the ecosystem of Chesapeake organizations have been a transformational gift to IPC. Al and Mckay leave a legacy of all their contributions and strategic thinking that have shaped IPC.
We are all creating a legacy, together. This is a sacred legacy to which we are all called, and a gift we leave for the next generation.
A legacy of leadership. If you are part of a green team at your congregation, you are leading the charge to change the way your congregation operates, and that is hard work! This year we trained 39 new green teams and 10 mentor volunteers. Green team leaders drive change in their communities, demonstrated by the fact that 87% of trained green teams have completed at least one environmental action. They led their congregations in educational programs, trash cleanups, boat trips, tree plantings, and large conservation projects.
A legacy of justice. There has been a seismic shift in the narrative about clean water and climate justice, and you have played a role in that. Newly elected officials are prioritizing environmental issues and the federal government included Environmental Justice Block Grants in the Inflation Reduction Act historic funding package. In 2022, 238 people engaged in legislative advocacy. Plus, the entire Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, representing 155,000 people, signed on in support of one of IPC's priority legislations. Altogether, 125 Partner Congregations have made a commitment to advocate for environmental justice in the Chesapeake.
A legacy of healing. Congregations installed 37 new projects this year, from tree plantings to rain gardens to cisterns and more. They engaged 921 volunteers and educated over 7,000 people. This work will redirect 2,150 gallons of polluted stormwater away from rivers and streams, each rainfall! These are long-lasting high-impact projects that will forever change the landscape.
A legacy of giving. Several major donors this year made significant gifts to IPC that will buoy us into the new year. Dozens of supporters make ongoing monthly gifts as sustaining supporters. Foundations continue to believe in our work and support us year after year. Our board of directors generously increased their giving this by nearly 25% this year. These unrestricted dollars are the hardest to earn, but the most impactful for our organization.
What is your legacy? I invite you to consider how will you participate in this legacy we are building together? Your donations, engagement, advocacy, and volunteerism help us all create the lasting change we seek in the Chesapeake. And together, just maybe, we can inspire the nation and the world to re-center their relationship with the nature as a manifestation of love for the whole web of life.
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