Senior Program Officer Message
Greetings from The Harder Foundation!
Despite the many challenges this past year has created and revealed for our grantee organizations and society at large, my first 6 months serving as Harder’s new Senior Program Officer has been a source of true joy. And although I’ve had few opportunities to connect in person due to safety precautions brought on by the pandemic, it’s been quite amazing how hospitable our community has been by Zoom, email, phone and even good old fashioned snail mail. THANK YOU for the very warm welcome to our work together.
This unusual start has brought some unforeseen blessings, most notably, the gift of time. It’s been very helpful to be able to slow down and fully absorb Harder’s values and origin story from the beginning, as well as our long-term commitment to the conservation priorities we’ve become known for over the last 50 years. This time is also allowing me to better absorb the details and nuance of our longstanding geographic and programmatic areas of focus – Alaska, the High Divide, the Olympic Peninsula, Public Lands, State Policy, and Fossil Fuels – and realize the full weight of our grantees’ work and impact. From continued success of the groundbreaking grassroots campaigns stopping fossil fuel infrastructure, to reinstatement of Endangered Species protections for the Grizzly Bear, to the game-changing proposal to eliminate 4 salmon-killing dams on the Lower Snake River… the results our grantees achieve is paramount to the preservation of a healthy world with intact wild places and protected creatures for all, and forever.
Looking ahead, we clearly face many continued uncertainties in year 2 of COVID-19. We don’t yet know the full extent of the pandemic itself, let alone it’s long-term impacts on donor behavior, remote work, and much more. As we move into the next phase of recovery, I’ll be focusing intently on building resilient relationships rooted in trust, so that I can work with grantees most effectively to address their needs. I look forward to meeting you if we haven’t already connected – and fingers crossed we will even be able to do it face to face sometime soon!
I’m so grateful to be in this role and supporting this work. Please reach out anytime if you’d like to connect.
After 2020, a year full of events and change for the Foundation, 2021 was much more subdued and reflective of more normal operation. Still, effects of the Covid pandemic had some impact, but we were able to carry on without any significant impairment to our basic operations. We were also able to spend time in the field and had as many in-person meetings we could with our grantee partners.
We are also happy to report that for the second year in a row, we ended the year at our highest asset level yet, $46.5 million. This portfolio performance allowed us to also fund our highest grant budget yet of $1.5 million. Details on our grant spending are included here on this site. While still early in the year, we do anticipate maintaining the same grant spend level in 2022.
We have started the process of incorporating a Program Advisory Panel (PAP) into our Program area stewardship. Over time, we expect this PAP to help provide depth and added strategic thinking to our program work. Our initial members to this PAP are great grandsons of our Foundation’s founder, Del S. Harder, and both have followed our work and orientation for many years. We welcome them to this role and are excited that they will work more closely with our staff. More background information on each is under the Staff section of the site.
Key highlights from 2021 include:
· Highest year-end portfolio value in our history — $46.5 million
· Largest annual grant budget in our history — $1.5 million
· Cathy Lehman’s first full year on staff as our Senior Program Officer
· Commencement of our Program Advisory Panel
In closing, and as always, would like to express our thanks and continued gratefulness to all our grantees and the incredible work they perform each day in trying to make the world a better place.