FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 10.10.2023

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find a statement of support, resources for unlearning Columbus Day myths, good news for Avalon clients, how to say “you’re welcome,” congressional updates, and more. Read it here:

Dispatch bannerDear friends,

Today we start back to work on a somber note. Over the weekend I watched with despair, along with all of you, the news about the terrorist attack on Israel and the declaration of war. I’m sending lots of love and support to my friends and colleagues who are struggling to comprehend this, and I wish for peace for the Israeli and Palestinian people. Thank you to leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom for their joint statement of support:

Today we express our steadfast and united support to the State of Israel, and our unequivocal condemnation of Hamas and its appalling acts of terrorism. The terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned. There is never any justification for terrorism. In recent days, the world has watched in horror as Hamas terrorists massacred families in their homes, slaughtered over 200 young people enjoying a music festival, and kidnapped elderly women, children, and entire families, who are now being held as hostages. All of us recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed.

In the United States, yesterday marked Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Thank you to the National Museum of the American Indian for your online collection of materials for unlearning Columbus Day myths. It includes the Museum’s 10-point educational framework: Native Knowledge 360° Essential Understandings about American Indians. And don’t miss Smithsonian Magazine’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day photo collection, which was curated from photo contest images in celebration of “the diversity of the Native American experience.”

In addition, last week was a whirlwind of congressional headlines. Even as Democrats mourn the death of Senator Feinstein, we celebrate the historic appointment of Senator Laphonza Butler, who became the first openly lesbian Black senator, the first LGBTQ+ senator from California, and the third Black female senator in U.S. history. Across the aisle, as you know, House Republicans’ dysfunction reached a frenzy with Speaker McCarthy’s ouster. I appreciated historian Heather Cox Richardson’s analysis and hope the contrast between Democratic steadiness and Republican chaos sways voters in 2024.

Meanwhile at Avalon, I joined senior VP Jackie Libby and VP Peter Childs in Boston for in-person client meetings. Having grown up in Massachusetts, I always feel grateful that my work requires travel in the Northeast, and this time of year is a favorite. Not only was our visit productive, but the city was especially beautiful. Thank you to The Trustees and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for hosting us—and best wishes to the Museum as they open their new Fashioned by Sargent exhibit!

On an exciting note, Washingtonian has released its annual list of Washington’s most influential women, and several of our clients were included. Congratulations to Cynthia Chavez Lamar, Director of the National Museum of the American Indian; Deborah Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center; Ellen Stofan, Undersecretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian (and former head of the National Air and Space Museum); and Francesca Zambello, Artistic Director at Washington National Opera. Avalon is honored to support your work.

We are also celebrating a Silver MAXI Award for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. They took the prize for their 2022 year-end appeal, which aimed to raise awareness about children waiting to be adopted from foster care. Sent in conjunction with National Adoption Day, this was the highest-grossing appeal for the Foundation ever, with a response rate more than three times the response of their previous year-end appeal. Congratulations to our clients at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and their Avalon client team.

Will, Mary, and Mollie hold DTFA's silver MAXI award plaque at the ceremony.VP Will Griffith, senior VP Mary Meredith, and marketing and operations manager Mollie Bensen celebrating DTFA’s Silver MAXI at the DMAW MAXI Awards Ceremony.

In other news, senior director of HR Melissa Ferrell shared a new example of how etiquette and language evolve. This time, the phrase “you’re welcome” is under the microscope. To many of us, “you’re welcome” is the best response to “thank you,” but some younger Americans consider it condescending. Instead, they prefer “no problem,” “no worries,” or even “mmhmm.” As fundraisers, we are usually the ones saying, “thank you,” so I wouldn’t overthink this. However, the debate arose on TikTok in response to frustrating customer service calls. I would love to hear if this has ever come up in your donor interactions.

Finally, the Avalon October Sweet Sixteen, our candy bracket, is back by popular demand. Favorite candies will face off all month, and each week will have a new theme. I will keep you posted on these important findings!

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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