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Message from Executive Director Lori Slaughter

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2024

Dear Friends,

I hope that 2024 is off to a great start for all of you. I also hope that those of you in the Pacific Northwest have survived our recent weather woes.   

I am pleased to report that ARCS Foundation Oregon finished the first half of our 2023-24 fiscal year on a high note. Guided by Elizabeth Bell’s capable leadership, the Allocations Committee approved awards for 28 new scholars (including permanent residents) starting in the Fall of 2024. And planning for our 20th anniversary celebration, to be held on May 2, is being led by Julie Branford and is well underway.

While there is much for us to celebrate, I want to acknowledge that I have read the responses to last Fall’s survey, including those which reflect the need for increased communications regarding operations to the membership. To that end, I will be sending along a brief report on that topic in future member newsletters on a regular basis.  

I am also pleased to report that a board-appointed strategic planning committee led by Anne Jarvis is working to develop a 3-year plan that will allow us to focus and prioritize strategic goals and objectives while supporting the Chapter’s continued growth and sustainability. In addition to Anne, the people donating their time and wisdom to this important work are:  Meleah Ashford, Rachel Dresbeck, Nancy Haigwood, Hillary Le (scholar), Ellen Richardson (Co-Founder), Nan Robertson, Kenda Singer, Mary Strickler, Gretchen Sturm, Jonalyn Wallace, Kierra Woekel, Alex Blackwill (staff), and Tom Doyle (a nonprofit consultant for Becker Capital Management).  The committee is aware not only of the elements of our culture and operations that are enduring hallmarks we wish to retain but also of the need to lean into the challenges and opportunities before us. 

I hope you participated in our survey last fall. We received responses from 167 people including members, scholars, university partners, donors, and community stakeholders. The strategic planning committee has carefully reviewed the data and will use it to inform its work.

As of January 2024, the committee has created three subcommittees organized around the following topics:

  • Leadership, Staffing, Transparency, and Capacity – Led by Jonalyn Wallace, Nan Robertson, Nancy Haigwood, Mary Strickler, and Rachel Dresbeck
  • Financial Health & Sustainability – Led by Gretchen Sturm, Anne Jarvis, Ellen Richardson, and Lori Slaughter
  • Membership & Engagement (including scholars & alumni) – Led by Kenda Singer, Hillary Le, Meleah Ashford, and Alex Blackwell

Please feel free to contact committee members with questions or to share your thoughts.

The committee will present its final report and recommendations to the board in time for its May 16 meeting. The results of the board review will then be presented to the membership at our June 29 annual meeting.

Thanks, as always, for your continued engagement and support of ARCS Foundation Oregon and its scholars. Please feel free to connect with me directly to share your thoughts or concerns on any issues. I can be reached at or 310-926-3841.

With Gratitude,


Lori Slaughter
Executive Director