As we look to 2024 here at RBAC in general and the Rainier Beach neighborhood in particular, we first want to be reflective. This self-reflection action is the launch of an initiative at RBAC in 2024. It involves us becoming an adaptive leadership-oriented org. To be adaptive, there are several qualities needed, of which one is to be self-reflective. Before we dig into that, let’s reflect on 2023.


  1. We said we would diversify our sources of funding to increase access to more unrestricted funds – check, we did that. We not only increased the number of new donors, but we also took up, to a small degree, serving as fiscal sponsors for other organizations that don’t have capacity. We are also looking into fees for services. We have a fantastic PBIS model that provides safety assessments for small businesses and nonprofits.


  1. Deepen relationships with neighbors, community, and partners – check, we did that. The 20th year of the Back2School Bash brought the original partners back together again, although we have always been in relations – The Atlantic Street Center and the Rainier Beach Community Center. We also added a dozen BIPOC Farmers and worked hard at building their trust.


  1. Increasing opportunities for community members to affirm their commitment to our work, whether through volunteering or giving – check, we did that. The launch of a Council-driven governance model has occurred. The committee-driven model that governed the organization since its inception will now go away. To access this link and take advantage of the opportunity to join, it will be fun.


  1. Start construction on the RBAC Growth Center – check, we did that. A facility, no, an anchor hub for food aggregation and meeting space is 75% complete. Be on the lookout for a ribbon-cutting event in the spring. As for the interest in becoming an adaptive leadership-oriented organization in 2024, the characteristics are – elephants on the table are named, responsibility of the organization is shared, independent judgment is expected, leadership capacity is developed, reflection and continuous learning are part of the culture.


To give credit where credit is due, this idea is from Ronald Heifetz, and the book is titled “The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World.” Keep an eye on us to see how we do. See you in the neighborhood! The image above is an Adinkra symbol called Denkyem, and it means “crocodile.” It is a symbol of adaptability, cleverness, from the proverb, “The crocodile lives in water yet it breathes air.”

– Gregory Davis