A blog dedicated to ideas, public policies, and the work of our non-profit partners that are game changing.
— by Dr. Yanique Redwood, President and CEO
By Deborah Smith, Trustee, The Consumer Health Foundation
I had to “rewind the videotape” when I read Yanique’s op-ed. Ah, yes. It was David, Jackie, Christopher, and me: David, a health care executive who understood what our auditors were telling us and whom I knew as a medical student; Christopher, our chair who lead with such aplomb and had ably taken charge of this search process; and Jackie, who was my same age and stage, more or less. Despite different paths, we saw a lot of the same things in a world that wasn’t used to seeing or hearing us when we first stepped onto those roads. We were volunteers entrusted by our fellow board trustees to take on the search for a new CEO for the Consumer Health Foundation during what turned out to be a very long spring into summer.
Almost three weeks ago, I attended my very first rally, which focused on immigration reform and took place at the Capitol. One of the benefits of relocating to D.C. is the opportunity and privilege to take a quick train ride to join others in raising our collective voice before lawmakers. In this blog post, I share a few photos from the rally and some reflections on what I saw. I titled this blog ‘¡Si, se puede!’ because it was the chant that I heard repeatedly and was able to decipher fairly quickly (thanks to my high school teacher Señora Aldorando) to mean ‘Yes, we can!’
Two years ago this month, my husband and I learned that we owed Uncle Sam $18, 513. I remember the call with our accountant during which she delivered the bad news-my husband and I sitting side by side on our bed, me cradling the cell phone, both of us praying for a miracle. She confirmed what we knew to be true from the IRS letter-the first-time home buyer’s tax credit would have to be repaid. I am now in the midst of tax season 2013 and have moved 180 degrees - or close to that - since that phone call. I save my miracle prayers for other, more personal matters. And, I’m a happy taxpayer, if that can be said. Read on…
A few weeks ago, Kate Lasso, a staff member at CHF, sent me an article on the District of Columbia’s educational achievement targets based on race and income with lower goals for black, Hispanic and poor kids and higher ones for whites and Asians. Her comment to me was: I heard about this on the news last night-it’s incredible to me that this is occurring today.
Two weeks later, I participated in a bus tour led by Drew Middle School principal Dr. Marla Dean and hosted by the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region to learn about “drop-out” prevention efforts in Prince George’s County. Since then, we’ve been in an ongoing conversation at the Foundation about the unrelenting achievement gap, which has everything to do with one’s prospects for future education, employment, and the ability to live a healthy life.
One purpose of this Game Changer blog is to give the community of funders, non-profit organizations, policymakers, and residents of the Washington D.C. region an opportunity to get to know me in my new role as President & CEO of the Consumer Health Foundation. As I write my sixth post, I wonder if you have noticed a pattern in these blogs. I am always talking about money! Whether it be wages earned through work or strategies like worker-owner cooperatives that not only facilitate income generation but also wealth building, I find myself gravitating to issues related to the almighty dollar. “Why is the leader of a health foundation always talking about money?” you ask. To which I reply, “Because access to it and all the benefits it corrals is fundamental to one’s ability to live a healthy and dignified life.”