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Message from President Diana Gordon

Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Dear ARCS Community, 

Someone once said, “It takes a village,” and I have definitely felt the truth of that statement over the weeks since I assumed the presidency of ARCS Foundation Oregon on July 1. 

I have so many people to thank for enabling a smooth transition for me from Elizabeth Bell’s strong leadership during the 2022-2023 fiscal year. I am honored to follow in her footsteps and in the footsteps of the amazing leaders who came before her, and grateful for the support of these amazing women, as well as the ARCS Oregon community. 

As we approach the 20th anniversary of ARCS Foundation Oregon (May 14, 2024), we have much to be proud of. Our 33 first-year scholars will bring the total to nearly 400 scholars supported since 2004. ARCS Foundation Oregon is the only philanthropic organization in the state of Oregon that is fully dedicated to supporting graduate students in STEM fields. Professional fundraisers agree that raising money for graduate scholars in STEM is one of the most challenging philanthropic goals: our success in this realm demonstrates the dedication of members of ARCS Foundation Oregon! When we set our minds to something, we get results! 

I hope you will join me in setting your minds to the following goals this coming year: 

Improving member satisfaction and involvement: Our members are our strength, and every member should feel cherished and included. Each of you is essential to our ability to meet our goals for support of STEM graduate scholars. To this end, I pledge to personally connect with as many members as I can during the upcoming months. I will continue to schedule teas at my home and hope that by the end of the year I will have had the opportunity to visit with most of you at these events. In addition, President-Elect Rachel Dresbeck and I will be meeting with Board Members, individually or in small groups. We want to hear about your priorities, concerns, and hopes for our organization. We want members to feel connected to one another and to the organization, and we promise to act on what we hear during these meetings. 

Ensuring the success of our annual fall fundraiser: The Annual Scholar Event committee made the decision to shake things up a bit: This year we will host a happy hour event at the Portland Art Museum. You should all have received a “Save the Date” card in the mail, and entered Tuesday, October 24, from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. on your calendars! Please attend, invite your friends, and help us raise money to support our wonderful STEM scholars – Science IS the solution, and we are the support team! 

Increasing and diversifying our membership: With more and diverse voices, we can bring more creative solutions to bear on the issues and activities that are important to us. Our membership application process has been streamlined and can now be accomplished online. We hope this will make it easier for those who are interested in membership to complete the process and join us in our important work. We will be exploring other areas where we can improve our recruitment of members, and we will look forward to hearing your ideas. 

Continuing the process of transitioning from a volunteer-led organization to one where we partner with an experienced Executive Director to achieve our goals. The transition process begun in January of 2022 has proved both challenging and rewarding. ED Lori Slaughter has brought with her an immense body of knowledge with respect to fundraising, marketing, and modernizing our processes. As we implement and learn from these processes and technologies, we are beginning to experience how they reduce our workload and allow us to focus our energies more productively. 

Here are some ways you can help us achieve these goals: 

  • Meet other ARCS members at a tea or other event (Fall Picnics, Annual Scholar Event, President’s Teas, educational programs, leadership events) 
  • Join an ARCS Foundation Oregon committee and/or an ARCS National Collaboration Network 
  • Share your concerns, priorities, and hopes for our organization with ARCS Oregon leadership 
  • Support ARCS Foundation Oregon with your philanthropic dollars 

I am looking forward to an exciting and rewarding year as your president. 

The mission of ARCS Foundation Oregon resonates strongly with me, as a science educator –and I know it does with you too. I am confident that, working together, we can make a difference in the lives of students who are bright and innovative and who will produce solutions to many of the world’s most pressing problems. I can’t think of a mission more worthy of our time, talent, and treasure.  

Diana Gordon, President 
ARCS Foundation Oregon Board of Directors