Friday, July 2, 2010

President's Message, Summer 2009

Dear Friends:

If we could redesign our local economy, what would it look like?  How can business support our community in the pursuit of happiness, security and justice? And what systematic changes are needed to help local businesses play this vital role?

Santa Fe Alliance is an advocacy organization founded in 2003 to address these issues, and to pursue real solutions for our community. We envision an economy based on principles of self determination, social justice and inclusion, entrepreneurial opportunity, and long-term stability. A sustainable community economy balances the productive strength of financial capital with human and natural capital, making full use of all our community assets. As the voice of the local economy, Santa Fe Alliance helps to ensure that the needs of citizens, small business owners and future generations are all considered.

The Alliance's activities have evolved as we have grown. We promote buying local goods and services, advocate for the local economy at the local and state level, and help our members grow stronger businesses. But to me it seems that all our efforts have a similar pattern: convene groups of people to address a common challenge, model a solution, often in the form of a new program, and then build partnerships to implement the solution.  The issues we take on form the context for the community's economic life. In Judy Herzl's words --our newest board member -- we take care of the pond, not just the fish. In seven years, we have taken on a range of issues which -- looking back -- seem to describe that pond from all angles: green jobs, affordable housing, healthcare reform, food security, the living wage and the living river.

The Alliance pursues a rotating portfolio of projects, and we expect our programs to outgrow us and take on a life of their own, freeing our resources for new challenges. This year, we have seen many of our initiatives come to maturity. Last Fall, the Green Jobs Initiative launched, with YouthWorks taking the implementation baton. In October, the Locals Care loyalty program, a longtime Alliance partnership, gained full independence. In the Spring, the Buy Local movement went mainstream with the launch of the City's "Santa Fe -- Buy Into It" campaign. And our Farm to Restaurant program gave birth to the Food and Fuels Program, building capacity in the communities that supply New Mexico's food and renewable energy.

For next year we have a few new ideas brewing, including starting a 10% Shift campaign, creating a localization checklist, building a mutual credit system, and strengthening Santa Fe's commercial districts and the neighborhoods they support. We're excited to pursue these ideas while maintaining our commitments to our members, the Buy Local campaign, our other projects, and the community at large.

How do we do it all? The Alliance has an incredible staff, active members, a strong board, and great support from our parent organizations, BALLE and AMIBA, and our sister networks throughout the country. But the most important factor is our support in the community. This year in particular, we have really learned how to give important work to volunteers, and to trust partnerships more deeply. It makes me proud of our community to see the significant resources, in time and money, that residents and business owners have entrusted to our organization, to see Santa Feans participating in conversations with openness and caring, and to see the increasing clarity of vision in our partners, including City and County and many non-profits.

This year is a big adjustment for us all. I hope you are each finding your way to a stable and satisfying livelihood, with closer connections to your values and the people around you. And I hope that you will find ways to work with the Alliance, helping us fulfill our mission in the community by becoming a member, volunteering for our many programs, joining our summer fundraising campaign, or just starting a conversation with your neighbors.


Roy Wroth
President, Board of Directors