Let’s Build a New Table Together

by Kristen Merrifield

Ah, let’s take a moment to envision the mythical “table” we all refer to and the elusive “seat” that we are never invited to fill. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “Well, if we just had a seat at the table we could …”? Admittedly, I’ve said it often when thinking about the work we need to do to support the incredible work of nonprofits in Arizona. I’ve even joked with colleagues, “If you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu!” But, when you really think about it, this messaging can be “reactive” or, dare I say, even “defensive” in nature. This language can make you feel left out, less important or disconnected; none of which are normally intentional or true. 

I truly believe that in order for us to collectively build and grow an Arizona that we are all truly proud to call home, we have to come together to find solutions to common problems. We have to have all voices represented if we desire to be innovative, equitable and strong. Nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, educators, policy makers … it takes all of us to make Arizona work and to take care of our communities.

Serving the nonprofit community is an incredible honor, but what makes it truly rewarding is to help make the critical connections needed to help these nonprofits fulfill their missions. We can’t do it alone, but we also can’t wait to be invited to the conversation. 

So I say, let’s throw the old table and seats away and let’s work together to build a new table. Let’s create a spirit of collaboration and inclusion that we have yet to see in our state. Let’s promote and engage amazing leaders in all of our sectors, and let’s highlight best practices that can cross over different segments. Let’s build an essential partnership between those doing critical work to strengthen our communities. Everyone already has a seat at this new table, we just have to fill it.

I’ll see you around the table soon.

Kristen Merrifield, CAE, CNAP

Chief Executive Officer
Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

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