We reached an important benchmark Thursday (Aug. 27) when 40 committed and generous Rappahannock County residents joined us for our first-ever annual meeting. If we may say so, it was a festive way to invite folks to the table.
We met at Buckeye Farm in Slate Mills, the lovely home of Vice Chair Beverly Jones, her husband Andy Alexander and their two outstanding dogs, Daisy and Lindy. (Andy, former ombudsman for the Washington Post and one of the most admired journalists in America, has agreed to chair our journalism advisory group).
We wanted to thank the people who have been with us from the beginning … dating back to our first gatherings to build what is now a Rappahannock nonprofit focused on a greater understanding of the big issues we’ll face in the future. We had the two folks who inspired our very name (Betsy Dietel and Roger Piantadosi). We toasted our co-founder and now director emeritus, Bill Dietel, who stepped down from the board this month to “really retire.” Bill deployed his considerable fundraising skills and leadership qualities in our behalf and we toasted his efforts.
The crowd included Foothills Forum funders (among them Kirsten Dueck from Fauquier Health Foundation, Matthew and Barbara Black Cliff Miller III), officers (Bev, Mary Frances leMat and Bud Meyer), directors (including Al Regnery and Molly Peterson), advisors (how about Harold Beebout, Ed Dolnick and Bette Mahoney), committee members, staff (our own Rocio Loya and newcomer Lindsay Sonnett), focus group facilitators (Alexia Morrison and Monica Worth), focus group participants (among them Debbie Keyser, Keir Whitson and Rosa Crocker), collaborators (The Rappahannock News‘ hard-working editor Roger P. and Patty Hardee), members (Merry Foresta and Anne Robertson) and dozens more.
Under brilliant skies, we enjoyed prosecco, a wonderful lunch provided by Bev and Andy (catered by Thornton River Grill), good conversations and no long-winded official remarks. We toasted our hosts, we updated folks on our progress (the Foothills Forum survey is coming along and will be mailed to 3,000 households this fall), we teased them with hints of the research and journalism projects underway, and we sent them away happy as disciples for the coming year.
All in all, the annual meeting was a nice way to cap an amazing year.