I’ve been thinking a lot lately about abundance and operating from a place of abundance. Typically in human services work, I think our task is so large and our resources so inadequate to meet the needs that our natural tendency is to “circle the wagons” and hold on tightly to what we have and the limited role we play. Certainly in my world of community action the threats to federal funding for our work create a level of anxiety that can be naturally followed by putting our head down and holding onto resources, hoping that the storm will soon pass.

Instead, at Community Action Partnership we are trying to be bold and step out into leadership around the issue of reducing poverty in our community. We are talking about what our community will look like when every community member is equipped to meet his or her potential and all people are meeting their needs by utilizing their talents, potential, and passions. We are offering up our resources (time, talent, and funding) to move our community toward this vision. We are willingly bringing our resources to the table and trusting that our community partners will bring theirs as well as we work together to reach the vision.

Operating from this place of abundance—together we have enough to reach the vision—has brought us more resources. We have attracted new funding, we’ve attracted new staff who bring top-notch skills to the work, we’ve attracted new community partners who share our vision.

I look around and see other human services organizations in our community who continue to operate in that old paradigm of scarcity of resources. They are still doing good, important work, but their impact is limited by their resources. Most people working in human services have a heart for the work and the people they serve. We all wish we had more resources to do more for people.

Hanging on my bulletin board is a card that says, “A wish changes nothing, but a decision changes everything.” As I look at the work of CAP, I see growth and opportunity that didn’t exist before we made a decision to start operating from a place of abundance. What if we all decided to do that?

Lisa Stoddard has worked in Community Action for the past 18 years, serving as the executive director of a community-based, non-profit community action agency for the last eight of those years.  She has a degree in English with a secondary education emphasis from the University of Montana, is a Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) and a Bridges Out of Poverty certified trainer.