Posted - 03/17/2011
The Convening

by Maggie Kaplan

Hands on a globe

In our time together over three days of the 2010 Grant Partner Convening, we sought to invoke a communal pause in a few different formats.  We celebrated together.

We listened to and learned from each other. We reflected.

We were generative AND playful. We focused on cultivating many facets of our Return on Relationships.

In the first day we started by learning a bit about each other as individuals. Each of us was asked the same 4 questions, one of which — “Where do you call Home?” — provoked intense emotional reactions and an outpouring of tears from both the men and women gathered together.

Who knew the impact of talking about your “Home”?  But it provided the underpinnings of the day and helped us create a trusted, safe container so that the solutions in our collective subconscious could present themselves.

In the second day, we increased the scope of understanding about climate change. We shared each grant partner’s projects, engaged with the rich diversity of experiences, passions and perspectives.

Britta Riley and Ted Ullrich (Windowfarms) shared about their successes and frustrations with using R&D-I-Y software development concepts to develop and scale the urban gardening Windowfarms project  originated in the Bronx, New York and helping spread it around the world.

And we heard from Gary Nabhan and Dennis Moroney (“Taco Diplomacy”) about their involvement with “Taco Diplomacy” and “daylighting” the food chain of the Southwestern border states and Mexico.

We discovered some common themes and threads amidst the diversity therein, and found areas where there might be some possible cross-pollination possibilities amongst us.

And finally on the last day, we invoked a collective pause, brainstorming together from ideas and sparks generated in our group field from our first 2 days together.  It delivered on the promise to be an exciting day filled with the “mystery of the unknown”…