Poetry Friday: Spring & Fountain Refresh

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Many of you may not know that Dodge Poetry is only one of five major programs at the Foundation; the others are Arts, Education, Environment and Informed Communities. Although we are the only Dodge program that functions as an operating organization and not as a grantmaking institution, all of our work is designed to align with and support the other programming areas and the Foundation’s mission and values.

In 2017 the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation launched a strategic refresh, reviewing its vision, values, mission, and exploring what it might do differently to better meet challenges facing our communities.

Back in October, Dodge Foundation President and CEO Christopher Daggett posted a blog to keep Dodge grantees informed about this process. He wrote:

It’s been a disruptive year. We’ve all had to adjust as the ground shifts beneath our feet — in business, technology, government, our personal lives — and even literally, in hurricanes and earthquakes.

Every day seems to bring new challenges around what we thought we knew about our society and our democracy. It has led all of us to ask many questions about the future and our roles in it.

At the Dodge Foundation, we’ve been taking in these questions as we look ahead and think about the long-term impact we want to have in New Jersey, our cherished home.

Most of what Chris goes on to write addresses Dodge’s grant-making, which accounts for the majority of the foundation’s funding.

Dodge Poetry, as part of this ongoing foundation-wide strategic refresh, is taking some time to review its own activities, procedures, practices and offerings. Part of this process involves taking a close look at how we are serving New Jersey teachers. 

Dodge’s Education Program and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts recently co-sponsored “Meet Teachers Where They Are,” which took a deep look at the kind of personal and professional development experiences New Jersey teachers desire, and the obstacles they face in search of them. Using what we’ve learned from this study, and from our own teacher surveys and conversations with target groups of educators and poets, we’re using the months ahead to take a close look at Clearing the Spring, Tending the Fountain, and how it supports our evolving mission, vision and goals.

Because it would be impossible to do this kind of thoughtful review while producing the full series of Spring & Fountain groups across the state, we’re modifying our offerings this season. Two state-wide, day-long poetry gatherings will be planned for mid- and late spring. The first is scheduled for March 24th; the second will be toward the end of the school year. Once again, teachers will be able to sign up for our on-line Spring & Fountain activities. Of course, those of you who’ve been in these sessions over the years can gather your own informal groups and share poems on your own.

We will be sending details on these offerings in the weeks and months ahead. Be sure to visit DodgePoetry.org to stay up-to-date with news on the upcoming Festival, and subscribe to our Poetry Fridays blog if you haven’t already. You can also follow along with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

As always, we thank you for all you do to bring poetry into your students’ lives.

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