FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 06.15.21


Dear friends,

Greetings from my happy place! I have a longstanding tradition of visiting Nantucket in June, and this year remote work has enabled me to extend my visit. I have been working some, and I will also log off completely for a true vacation. I love this reminder from The Muse to use your vacation days. You’ve earned them—especially during the past year.


Siasconset, Massachusetts.
Siasconset, Massachusetts.
This year, I celebrate 15 years of Nantucket vacations with my friends Shelby Loder Grey and Susan Cramer
This year, I celebrate 15 years of Nantucket vacations with my friends Shelby Loder Grey and Susan Cramer.

Back at the office, one thing we’re enjoying is your Pride logos. Not only are they beautiful, but I take heart in knowing that your logos represent real work happening to support LGBTQIA+ issues. Speaking of which, I like this call to action from Human Rights Campaign, which puts a spotlight on state-level advocacy: “Take action now by publicly denouncing state legislation that discriminates against people, refusing to advance new business in states that are hostile to corporate values and refusing to support sporting events where transgender athletes are banned or athletes taking a knee are penalized.”

Also at Avalon, congratulations to Vice President Kristen Shank Finn, who was elected VP of the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA) board last week. Kristen has been serving on the DMFA board for a number of years, most recently as Secretary. Thanks for representing, Kristen!

In tech news, AI is headed for our phones. Reporting from the Worldwide Developers Conference, Fast Company tells us to look for big enhancements to Apple devices. Soon, they will have the intelligence to read photos for words and numbers, translate speech in real-time, reduce background noise, and offer some interesting wellness tools. I’m particularly excited about the new focus mode that is planned for release with iOS 15.

There is also news for Amazon users: last week, the company activated its Sidewalk technology on Echo and Ring devices. According to the Washington Post, “Sidewalk will blanket urban and suburban America with a low-bandwidth wireless network that can stretch half a mile and reach places and things that were once too hard or too expensive to connect.” This has interesting potential, but consumer advocates are raising privacy concerns and criticizing the company’s lack of transparency. You can read more about Sidewalk here, including how to opt-out.

On the fundraising horizon, I hope you are as eager for the 2021 Bridge Conference as I am. The dates are July 14-15, so we are officially one month out. This is one of my favorite industry events. I miss in-person connections and Avalon’s Bridge gatherings, but the virtual format is also great. I love having access to so much terrific content from the comfort of my home office.

Finally, I was excited to see the recent return of the Kennedy Center Honors—a welcome signal from the arts community that we are emerging from the pandemic. This year’s honorees were Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, Midori, and Dick Van Dyke. If you missed it, here’s a great round-up of the event’s best musical moments.

Take care,