For me, virtually every day starts with a walk with my dog in my neighborhood. It is a quiet place, and I look forward to the sound of the wind in the trees, the scents of the season and the wildlife hustling around me - the deer, the shorebirds and the squirrels.
But the sunrise - oh, the sunrise!
It is a daily reminder of the gift of life we've been given. A small glow, expanding to a greater light, the intensifying of colors, the glory of it - it marks the start of another day of promise and possibility.
The promise of a new year is also like that. Coming off the warm glow of the holiday season - a time with family and friends, a time of appreciating the gifts we've received and of spiritual renewal for many - the new year arrives with the brightening light of opportunity and 365 days to use for good purpose.
In the same way individuals use the new year as a time to look back over their past and then make resolutions for the future, organizations do the same.
For Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, 2018 is a year of gathering information for the development of our next strategy. In considering the period covered by our last strategic plan, we've had sunshine mixed with hurricane, stability mixed with change, significant plans realized while managing the unexpected.
We are now contemplating the effectiveness of the programs and services we offer, their costs and benefits, and how our operations compare with best practices in the field.
We will also consider, of course, where we are headed and what community needs and gaps we could better address.
We are looking forward to such pieces of information as the results of the Visioning Process being undertaken by the Town of Hilton Head Island, and the growth strategies underway to prepare Jasper County for the port to come online.
We're partnering with the Coastal Community Foundation and the United Way of the Lowcountry to gather information from various people in our service area about their needs and concerns. And we will be considering the future operational needs of the Community Foundation itself.
It would be interesting to know if and how other nonprofits, as well as charitable individuals, choose to consider the promise and possibility offered by the dawn of 2018.
Are you energized by the thought of 365 days ahead? Are you considering, through the light of dawn, how to improve innovation, commitment and determination, passion for service, leadership, integrity, teamwork, results, excellence, competence and stewardship?
Do you see the growing glow of the sunrise that will illumine your path?
The board and staff of the Community Foundation is committed, through our upcoming strategic planning process, to focus on these things, and to continue to live generously in a way that advances our mission: Strengthening community by connecting people, resources and needs.
Will you join us by supporting our work, and the work of other committed, focused, and strategic nonprofit organizations?
Denise K. Spencer is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. www.cf-lowcountry.org