Editor reflects on The Fig Tree's 35 years and future
People and their stories bring The Fig Tree to life. In these times with polarized news creating personal echo chambers, it's hard to believe that when truth and falsehood meet, truth will win.
In these times, we need hope and resilience, so we can persevere. That's why The Fig Tree informs people to inspire them to be involved. We do that through stories of caring people who make a difference, and through the resource guide that empowers people to improve their lives, communities and the world.
Resilience is having the strength, patience and wisdom to persevere in the struggle for social and environmental justice and peace. To be resilient, we need to be people of vision—vision through the eyes of people of diverse races, tongues, cultures and faiths, living together in community, in solidarity, in respect and in unity.
Adversity—personal, social, societal, economic, political—happens. When many are ready to give up, The Fig Tree seeks to keep hope alive.
The Fig Tree, rooted in Micah 4:4, envisions the hope that everyone shall live under their own vines and fig trees in peace and unafraid.
We have made a difference in lives through at least 2,500 feature stories over 35 years, reaching hundreds of thousands of people in print and millions through our website and social media.
The Fig Tree's stories share struggles, possibilities and solutions.
Over 35 years, The Fig Tree has given hope, not only through our stories, but also through our example of our having started from nothing with minimal income and giving back—reinvesting—to make it be.
We're also part of a wider economic system. The more we in the faith, nonprofit, human service, caring and justice-seeking communities share with each other—even when we feel pinched—the more wealth circulates among us, empowering each of us in our efforts.
When we added the Resource Directory in 2007, we saw it as a tool for pastors and service providers to be informed and guide clients to assistance.
Then we realized that if "clients"—people in times of struggle and emergencies who needed resources—had their own copies they could use them to move from crises to transition to stability with food, jobs, education and housing. Once stabilized, they could find cultural, recreational and community outlets to "give back," to seek justice, change policies and improve lives for others.
The Fig Tree is an entrepreneurial venture in community journalism and resource sharing.
Our team of nearly 100 multi-taskers—editors, staff and volunteers—do interviews, research, articles, editing, photos, layouts and web design; develop relationships to build a base of support; do deliveries, mailings, displays, event planning, and serve on the board.
We invite people of younger generations—any generation—to join us in this venture, sharing in any of the multiple tasks that make The Fig Tree and Resource Directory possible.
Let me be clear, I'm retirement age but editing The Fig Tree is my retirement.
Not only am I doing what I love, but I also want to mentor and partner with others to share in this work.
We seek a backup person or people to share in the multiple tasks. While the benefits raise funds for ongoing support, we also hope for an added boost to increase staffing. We are just over the basic goal of $30,000 for our ongoing budget.
In 2019, we also budgeted an additional $35,000 to help us fund new staffing and build our future capacity.
To help promote The Fig Tree and share our story, we are providing in print in Sounding Board below comments of speakers for the Benefit Lunch. In May, we will include comments of speakers for the Benefit Breakfast. Our hope is that our supporters will share that information with others to draw new readers and supporters. Videos of their comments are also online through thefigtree.org or at our YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/thefigtree1323/videos.
In addition, the video Nathan Slabaugh created for the benefits with long-time Fig Tree partners—Raymond Reyes, Lonnie Mitchell, Sally Duffy, Deidre Jacobson, David Brookbank and Amber Waldref—is also available there, along with their full comments. These are tools to use to excite others about The Fig Tree.
Thanks to Cindy Hval for the article and to Dan Pelle for the Spokesman-Review article on our 35 years. It's at http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/mar/22/deep-roots-the-fig-tree-celebrates-35-years/
The May and June issues will offer more reflection on our 35 years, as we look forward to the next 35 years—expanding our outreach to build hope, resilience and perseverance by informing, inspiring and involving people.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April, 2019