FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 02.23.21


Dear friends,

I hope those of you experiencing tough winter weather – especially in Texas and other areas where infrastructure has been inadequate – are safe and warm. It is sad to see these challenges laid bare, causing more suffering in an already difficult time. I am reminded yet again of the high stakes of government inaction and disunity – and of the critical need for nonprofits to bridge the gap. I feel like I say this every week, but once again – thank you.

This is the last week of Black History Month, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I will pull the thread forward. I’m proud of the DEI work Avalon has been doing, and at the same time I want to reiterate that this is a work in progress and will be ongoing. I also want to offer a special shout-out to two women who are helping us directly with this: Jaye Holly, a consultant with impressive experience and expertise in helping organizations better reflect DEI values, and Alisha Jean-Denis, an experienced educator, administrator, and scholar whose work blends storytelling resonance practices with social justice education. Thank you, Jaye and Alisha.

Another ongoing priority at Avalon is work-life balance. We take a monthly internal “pulse” survey on staff experience, and last month’s survey highlighted the difficulty of maintaining those boundaries when everyone is working from home. With no commute to act as buffer and blurry physical borders between home and office, it’s a challenge. Since most of you are also working and living in the same space these days, I’m sure you can relate!

Fortunately, because this is such a widespread issue, there is a lot of good content on the subject. Here are three articles I liked recently: 7 Simple Steps to Create Better Boundaries When You Work From Home (Fast Company), How to Improve Your Work Life Balance (WSJ), and The Rise of the Fake Commute (CNN). The CNN piece is my personal favorite because it features fundraising guru Beth Kanter!

In other work-from-home news, this month’s Zoom update was a good one. I think everyone at Avalon is most excited about ditching their ring lights in favor of the “adjust for low light” setting, and it is also helpful that you can now blur your background. Last week, in keeping with the theme, Fast Company offered some great tips for upgrading your Zoom happy hour.

However, the hottest new spot for networking isn’t on Zoom. Clubhouse is a new app that is creating some interesting ways for people to interact online through audio chatroom conversations. It’s not without controversy, but it is certainly generating some buzz. If any of you have joined, I would love to hear about your experience.

Finally, I loved this NYT feature on The Soothing Digital Rooms of YouTube, which tours the many ambiance channels hosted by YouTube. There are a ton to choose from, but the Jazz Bar in Paris and the Rainy Day Coffee Shop really spoke to me.


Take care,