Pausing to Be Grateful

With the start of a new year the horizon, I find myself busily working to hit my annual goals and finish out the year on a high note. As I’m sure many of you can relate to, it feels like I’m sprinting toward December 31.


However, with Thanksgiving just weeks away, I’ve decided to pause for a minute and reflect on what I’m thankful for…the wins, the losses, and all the random stuff in between. And, I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you’ll do the same.


I know just how easy it is for those of you in the nonprofit sector to feel like it’s never enough. Your missions are big…often so big, moving the needle feels daunting, exhausting and sometimes out of reach. Will we solve homelessness? We will cure cancer? Will we rid the world of abuse and neglect? Will we stop climate change?


I certainly can’t answer those questions, but I know those of you reading this are working toward those goals (or something similar) each and every day. You strategize, you fundraise, you generate awareness, you build communities, you exhaust every resource. You work long hours to move the needle - just a little bit more.


But, do you pause long enough to be grateful? No matter your organization or your job title, if you’re working in the social impact sector, you didn’t just do your job this year. You impacted someone’s life. Maybe it wasn’t as big of an impact as you would’ve liked, but I am confident someone somewhere is smiling bigger today because of something you did.


So, my social impact friends, I urge you to pause, reflect and take stock of all you have accomplished and all that you have to be grateful for…each win, each loss, and every random thing in between.

It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

- Brother Steindl-Rast

Here’s my list:

  • Our 2022 Clients – Community Partnership Initiative, Detroit Horse Power, Joique Bell Charity, Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan, Lighthouse MI, LifeLab Kids, NFL Alumni Association, Orchards Children’s Services, and Playworks Michigan
  • The prospective clients who didn’t hire us because they left space for those who did
  • The 700+ individuals who attended our Community Connections series, the sponsors that helped bring our events to life, and the panelists who lent their expertise
  • Celebrating our 5-year Anniversary and knowing that the 30+ organizations we’ve served during that time are all making our community a better place
  • Those who partner with us, support our work, make referrals, and cheer us on and those who don’t because they push me to work harder
  • My super busy schedule that’s left me exhausted - it means the world has opened up again
  • The everyday challenges of entrepreneurship that remind me I am strong, capable and resilient
  • Having a network filled with brilliant, dedicated, selfless, passionate people who spend their days strengthening our community

What’s on your 2022 gratitude list?


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About Rachel M. Decker

Having spent nearly 20 years in the nonprofit sector as an effective and strategic fundraising and foundation executive, Detroit Philanthropy Founder and President, Rachel Decker is passionate about helping others, making meaningful connections, solving problems and, most importantly, creating impact in our community. With the founding of Detroit Philanthropy, she turned that passion into a commitment to champion philanthropy throughout metro Detroit as a philanthropic advisor, fundraising consultant and speaker.

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