It's no small thing to start a non-profit. A small village of people have chopped wood and carried water to bring this endeavor to life, from our able Launch Director, Jane Quinn, who oversaw the complex legal structuring of the Ibu Foundation, to Willa Shalit, who years ago founded this project of the heart, turning it over to Ibu's leadership this year; still active as our patron saint.
A small, nimble Board means that each person's voice is crucial, and this Board of Directors is not only solid in its vision but elevated by the joy in it. Stephanie Hunt's wise counsel as President of the Board means that much has moved forward quietly through the summer months. A summons that went out for an Executive Director led to several highly qualified candidates stepping forth, conversations ignited much thoughtful debate, a consensus bloomed. The first Executive Director is hired.
In meeting Hannah Blatt, I am struck by her quick intellect, strong voice, compassionate presence, good humor, and an unbending will toward the good. The Board concurred, finding that Hannah had the leadership and drive to take this young Foundation and shape of it something remarkable, original, beautiful, powerful, good.
A native of South Carolina, Hannah earned a Bachelors and a Masters in Leadership and Organizational Performance at Vanderbilt University. She then earned her stripes in fundraising, event management and nonprofit leadership, first with the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation in Denver, and most recently for the Preservation Society of Charleston.
On her first day of this job, Hannah headed to Aspen to speak with donors and friends at an Ibu Foundation event; a week later to Northeast Harbor, Maine, to do the same. She's now diving into set-up work here in Charleston and reaching out to the artisan groups where projects lie in wait, ready for her hand to lead them. Her initiative is impressive; I am overjoyed.
In the future, an occasional missive from Hannah and Stephanie will bring news of the Foundation projects and notice of events. Much is in the works. I hope you'll sign on for those mailings, and can do so on the Ibu Foundation website, WeAreIbu.org. As I watch the work of this young start-up, I think of the last lines of Denise Levertov's brilliant poem, Beginners:
So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,
so much is in bud.
On behalf of the board of We Are Ibu,
Susan Hull Walker
with Stephanie Wood Hunt, President; Austin R. Walker, Monica Seeger, Janet Gregg