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A transition for Making Contact

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From the Board of Making Contact —

Today we are writing to formally share the news that Making Contact’s Executive Director Sonya Green is stepping down from her position at the end of September.

Since June 2020, Sonya has been an incredible leader during incredibly difficult times. She has forged new partnerships, exceeded our annual fundraising goals, and worked to strengthen and professionalize our internal operations. She has been at the forefront of our push to do more coverage of racial justice, and she has always worked to keep our storytelling centered on the humanity of the moment. And she did all of this, of course, while leading the organization through a global pandemic and nationwide uprisings for racial justice. Her time at Making Contact has been a success — but it has taken a toll. Please read her farewell letter here.

At the time of Sonya’s hire as Executive Director, we as a board knew that we wanted to increase leadership and representation of POC in our organization. We were thrilled to attract such a talented and accomplished candidate in Sonya. But the realities of this transition have revealed that there are many deep levels of change we need to make in order to truly support a leader of color, especially a Black woman. We have learned that truly transitioning from being a white-led organization to one that is helmed by – and built to support – a Black leader requires deeper change than simply attracting and hiring an amazing person. We have started to visibilize some of the things that need to change. We are committed to continuing the work.

One of the many powerful things Sonya accomplished during her tenure was to kick off an organizational assessment with a focus on racial justice and equity. That work will help propel us through this next stage, of finding ways that we can do the difficult, painful, powerful, and deeply needed ongoing work of building an organization that truly lives its values of social and racial justice and equity.

For the next few months, we’ve contracted an Interim Executive Director, Jessica Partnow, who was the founding ED of The Seattle Globalist, a journalism and education nonprofit dedicated to racial justice in media, and who now specializes in leadership transitions for small nonprofit organizations. This interim period will allow us space and time to do some of the internal reflection and reorganization we need to do in order to set our next leader up for success. We expect to launch the search for our next ED in the next couple of months.

Making Contact has been so lucky to be in Sonya’s capable hands over the past fifteen months, and her legacy will always be woven into our work. Thank you, Sonya, for the work you have done to make Making Contact stronger inside and out.