Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recognition fuels community-building

Heidi Hardin's Jefferson Award is well-deserved.  It recognizes Heidi for decades of commitment to good works. It may also prove valuable beyond simple recognition.

Awards like this one boost awareness about important issues, draw contributors to worthy projects, and keep community-builders committed to the work.

The Quesada Gardens Initiative is a good example. Co-Founding gardeners, Karl Paige and Annette Smith won Jefferson Awards and other acknowledgments in the early days of the project, drawing funding leads and public awareness that have helped to grow the work ever since.

As the organization began to win awards, such as those from San Francisco
and Crissy Field/Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, resident leaders came to understand how nice it is to be celebrated ... and how important it is. Involved individuals seemed re-energized, and often deepened their commitment to the work.

Those experiences, in part, led the Quesada Gardens group to establish a "Thank You Committee," a sub-committee of its Board of Directors that held as its sole responsibility saying "thank you" to the many individuals and groups that contribute to Quesada Gardens.

The spirit of acknowledgment is now a part of the organizational culture, and can be seen in everything the group does. For instance, a memorial to the founders (pictured), a beautifully landscaped vista above the main Quesada Garden, is a permanent and "green" thank you.

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