Quality of Life: Collaborating for a Better Future
By Heather Iliff, President & CEO, Maryland Nonprofits
Everyone wants to have a good quality of life. Nearly universally, people value having a place to call home, being gainfully employed, having access to healthy food, having clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, having a good education for themselves and their children, living in safe neighborhoods, being treated justly and fairly, having access to the great outdoors, and being in good health. In one way or another, most businesses, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations have been established to promote the quality of life. We share the same aims in many ways, and our society has achieved great progress in extending a greater quality of life to more people.
We still have a long way to go, though, before a good quality of life is available for everyone. Our progress has been insufficient in addressing complex societal challenges like income inequality, gaps in educational achievement, disparities in health outcomes, pollution and climate change, chronic underemployment, barriers to affordable housing, endless waiting lists for services for people with disabilities and behavioral health needs, overly high rates of incarceration, lack of adequate public transportation, and under-investment in recreation and the arts. Especially for some communities in Maryland, quality of life has been “stuck” several gears short of humming along in the right direction.
Our work in the nonprofit sector is so effective in our own areas, but often tends to be separated into silos. It can be difficult to find time to make connections across the hall, much less across the sectors. Maryland Nonprofits will aim to play a role in convening the conversations, catalyzing the collaboration, and coordinating advocacy work needed to create long-term change. We will aim to connect the right people and organizations to develop shared analyses and overcome barriers to long-term, transformative change.
We recognize that this is not a one- or two-year project, but a long-term commitment to raise big questions and harness the wisdom in our association for a shared vision for the future. We will seek input from our members in ways to collaborate and how we can help facilitate connections large and small, through affinity groups, sharing information, and other ways to build bridges between the silos.
Our first steps along this path are in convening people from across the three sectors for inspiration and dialogue at our Quality of Life Summit on March 24, 2015.
Join us for the Quality of Life Summit March 24th at the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, MD.
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