FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 06.14.2022

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch: honoring Juneteenth, today’s queer leaders, tough words for charity watchdogs, and a plug for taking breaks. Read it here!


Dear friends,

This week’s January 6 hearings have dominated the news, and I have been riveted. It is so important that the truth of these events is shared and documented both for today and for the future. They are, as Liz Cheney pointed out to her Republican colleagues, indefensible. If you’re unable to watch the live coverage or if you want informed secondary analysis, I’m a big fan of historian Heather Cox Richardson.

In other news, Avalon will be closed on Monday, June 20 for Juneteenth. Your teams will ensure that all work remains on schedule. Avalon clients have wonderful events planned, including Bread For the City’s Block Party on June 19 and the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Community Day on June 20. I hope that you all find ways to honor, celebrate, and continue learning about this important moment in American history.

We also continue to honor Pride. Senior account director Nova Cohen-Prohow shared an inspiring reflection with our team. Hear, hear:

Pride started as a riot against atrocities waged against marginalized communities. Movements can and often do stem out of tragedies, and momentum can build out of horrible things. I’m carrying this with me today as I think of Texas, and Buffalo, and Tulsa, and childbearing-capable people in Oklahoma who have lost their body autonomy, and all the unspoken or underreported painful stories that didn’t make it above the fold of the major newspapers.

Last week, Fast Company announced the 2022 Queer 50 List, which chronicles the most powerful LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary leaders across a range of industries. The list emphasizes not only “queer representation and influence,” but also their work “to ensure that other marginalized individuals can also find the same success and opportunity.” To name just one of these extraordinary leaders, congratulations to Karine Jean-Pierre, who recently became the first Black, openly LGBTQ+ woman to serve as White House press secretary.

Closer to home, we have implemented an Avalon Out List. This voluntary, internal list was a staff request, and we love it! Team members who are out and want to identify as such can do so—and serve as a resource for team members who may be considering coming out or who are also out as well.

In The Agitator, Kevin Schulman has tough words for charity watchdogs: “Do the Opposite.” He argues that the watchdog formula for strong fiscal ratings works against the sector’s impact. As we know, the press also loves the idea that nonprofits should be lean. However, nonprofits may need to think bigger. It’s an important conversation to have with leadership, so your nonprofit can responsibly align financial planning with its strategies. These stats from the article are good discussion points:

  • Having a higher overhead generates 15% more program spend over 10 years.
  • Having less revenue diversification results in 17% more program spend over ten years.
  • Maintain[ing] above median level reserves yields 32% more spending on programs.
  • Having an above-median interest expense ratio contributes about 11% to program spending over 10 years.

Turning to productivity, the Wall Street Journal recommends taking breaks during the work day. Breaks may seem inefficient, but the opposite is true. According to organizational behavior expert John Trougakos, the human brain is designed to focus in 90-minute bursts. Anything beyond that increases mistakes, which costs time later. The New York Times can help you learn how to take a break, if pausing the work day sounds difficult. It can be a challenge!

Last but not least, Happy Father’s Day! I hope all the dads and father figures reading this letter enjoy a fun weekend with your families (or some time to yourselves—whatever you need!).

Take care,


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Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group
202-429-6080 ext. 102