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10 Great Moments in Our Work From 2011

December 15, 2011

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not referring to long lines at retail stores, or the sudden, inexplicable urge to bake fruitcake.

I’m talking about The List: all the year-end “best of” or “top 10” lists that pop up around December.

Time magazine lists, among other things, the Top 10 scandals and memes of the year. The Atlantic looks back on the Top 10 political stories of 2011. Sports Illustrated is asking readers to vote on the best sports moments of the year.

I have my own personal twist on The List, and want to share 10 great moments this year for the Gates Foundation’s work in Washington state. In a year of ups and downs for our state and its residents, our grantees and partners have made some tremendous progress. It was nearly impossible to narrow the hundreds of incredible things our grantees have done this year. So my list, which is presented in the slideshow below, represents just a small slice of some truly fine moments from 2011.

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As we look back on 2011, there is a lot to celebrate. But we also know that a number of challenges lie ahead for our state. Right now, legislators are meeting in a special session to try to find out how they can close another state budget gap. Meanwhile, families continue to struggle to find jobs, further their education, and put food on the table.

We focus on strong families and great schools because educational success represents a path for young people to live healthy, productive lives. Improving educational opportunities represents a shared responsibility for the entire community.

We remain committed to the innovative work in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties to reduce and ultimately end family homelessness. In addition, we will be providing grants to local funders in many regions of the state, such as community foundations and United Way chapters. Through these local partners, we can use their stronger local knowledge and networks to more effectively re-grant our funds—tailoring this funding to meet the unique needs of low-income families and children in each community. Our goal is to empower communities to find new ways to solve their own problems.

 With every passing year, we listen and learn more about how to tackle this state’s toughest challenges. If you live in Washington state, please share your own “great moments” for 2011 in the comments below. We also encourage those who would like updates on our local grantmaking to sign up at our website.

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