Connecting the Dots

When I was offered the opportunity to join The Miami Foundation nearly four months ago, I was thrilled by the chance to build a greater Miami where everyone can thrive. In the weeks leading up to my first day, I thought about what it would take to truly build a greater Miami. Generosity was one of the first thoughts that came to mind, followed closely by the need for bold leaders who are willing to take risks and bring people together to work on solutions for our community. 

But after three months in this magical place called The Miami Foundation, I realized there is a third ingredient that is truly the crux of it all – connection. 

As the second pillar in The Miami Foundation’s strategic plan to build a thriving Greater Miami, I’ve watched The Foundation prioritize connection in all its work – and I have witnessed the power of those moments. I’ve also realized that my understanding of connection was limited before joining The Miami Foundation.

So, I’ve spent the last four months asking myself two key questions about connection: 

  • What kind of connection do we need in Greater Miami? 
  • What impact can greater connection have on our community? 

While my response to these questions will undoubtedly grow and evolve, these are my reflections so far: 

What kind of connection do we need in Greater Miami? 

We need to lean on our lines of difference. 

Greater Miami is a place where many people have relocated from someplace else in the world. The fabric of our region is rich with languages, culture, and historical differences. This tapestry of varied stories, lived experiences, insights, and wisdom is too often labeled as a hindrance to our community – with claims that it prevents our community from truly uniting. But I would argue that it is our community’s greatest untapped asset. The diversity of knowledge and experiences in our community is what enables Greater Miami to be a hub for innovation and creativity like no other place in the world. If we spend more time as a community connecting with one another to learn from each other’s perspectives and experiences, we will be able to build a stronger, more resilient, more equitable Greater Miami for everyone who calls this place home. 

We need to make it easier for Miamians to get involved. 

There are over 1,000 nonprofits in our region doing incredible work to meet the needs of our community, and 42% of Florida nonprofits would like more volunteers to carry out their missions. Miamians regularly reach out to us asking for ways to give back, but the truth is that it is still difficult to know how to get ‘plugged in’ to Miami and lend a hand.  Our Give Miami Day webpage was a giant step forward because it created a one-stop shop for anyone in Miami to search and learn about nonprofits, but this does not yet translate into an easy way by which someone can give their time to contribute to a cause they care about. As a community, we have work to do to help Miamians more easily connect with opportunities to give back and get involved on a regular basis. 

What impact can greater connection have on our community? 

It can inspire action.

When members of a community feel informed and empowered, they take action. They feel a sense of responsibility to create the thriving community they want to live in, and they are compelled to use their knowledge, skills, and resources to make positive progress. The work of creating a Greater Miami requires all of us to act, and creating connection in our community is the first step to making that happen. Can you imagine the progress our region would make if all of us stepped forward to take action to create the community we seek to live in? 

Group photo at Team Meeting turned Happy Hour with Miami Fellows

Writing about the power and potential of connection truly gives me goosebumps.  At The Miami Foundation, we have the honor of spending every day connecting with the community – seeing its beauty, shining a light on its potential, and supporting its progress. My greatest hope in my new role is to create that same connection for each of you. I want you to feel the same joy that I get to experience every single day because of the power of connection.  Only when our entire community is truly connected will we be able to create a Greater Miami where every person can thrive. 

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.