Last week, we hosted representatives from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) for a SNAP-Ed Management Evaluation. In other words, we had a program and fiscal review from our funder. For some, this might sound like an event that would cause much angst. But not so for our center: we have a stellar program and stellar fiscal oversight. The visit felt less like an audit and more like a two-day conversation about how we achieve the SNAP-Ed grant objectives in innovative, diverse, inclusive, and fiscally responsible ways. Many thanks to all who made this important review run smoothly.
|This binder has seventeen sections, covering everything from EARS to Supplies.|
While DHS staff learned about us during the review, we also learned from them.
I was impressed with how our funder started each meeting: by sharing their organization’s Guiding Principles for Partnership. Their five principles are mutual respect, open communication, joint problem-solving, empowering through diversity, and ethical code of conduct. Sharing these principles at the beginning of each meeting set the stage for open dialogue.
Some people may think of a “principle” as a law or rule that must be followed, and associate it with a feeling of restriction. However, I have found a principled approach to organizational and individual work — such as what DHS shared during our visit — to be freeing. The DHS Guiding Principles for Partnership freed us to have an open discussion with joint problem-solving as a goal, while embracing diverse perspectives.
|2015 Qualey-Skjervold conference attendees deep in thought.|
In July, we gather for our Qualey-Skjervold Professional Development Conference. During that time of learning about poverty, we will also spend time developing Family Development’s guiding principles. I believe the two go hand in hand. How will our commitment to limited-income participants, and the agencies that serve them, be reflected in our FD principles? Our co-creation of FD principles this summer will provide you an opportunity to share your thoughts. I look forward to your unique contribution as we develop our guiding principles.