To all Environmental Forum of Marin Supporters:
To everything there is a season…the biblical words that Pete Seeger used to create this beautiful song tell us that there is a time for everything: a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to build up, and a time to break down.
For Environmental Forum of Marin, the time has come for our organization to end.
Our well-crafted, highly effective organizational model has brought inspiration, education, and advocacy tools to thousands of participants. Our forward environmentally progressive movement has been driven and often staffed by our Master Class graduates. For the past year the EFM Board has been examining the sustainability of the organization. The results of that examination were reviewed at a recent Board meeting where it was decided that, while much of EFM’s mission has been achieved, the path forward for the organization was not viable.
We began 51 years ago. Over the past ten years, however, it has become clear that EFM’s organizational model is no longer well suited to contemporary circumstances. Our foundational principle has been a reliance on our unpaid “working board” to organize and facilitate the intensive Master Class, the program that has been our hallmark education experience. The content was developed and delivered by speakers who also donated their time. This reliance, primarily on volunteer labor, has become increasingly challenging to sustain, so we have had to rely more and more on paid staff to deliver programs.
As interested participants reflect today’s emphasis on shorter programming, and as financial costs and time demands increase, the Master Class enrollment has decreased. Enrolling fewer participants reduces the pools from which we draw members and leadership. Add the pandemic to the equation and it has become increasingly hard to see a clear way forward for the organization.
For all these reasons, the EFM Board intends to dissolve the Environmental Forum of Marin effective June 1, 2023. While saddened by this decision, we are also extremely proud of the significant contribution EFM has made to the environmental cause over the last half century. While our organization will no longer continue its mission, we feel confident that its legacy lives on through the actions of the approximately 1200 individuals who have attended the master class over the years. Many graduates of EFM’s Master Class and other programs have gone on to become environmental leaders in government and private institutions, and countless others have contributed to the environmental cause in their own communities and through their philanthropic activity.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to EFM founder Marty Griffin for conceiving the idea to create a cadre of well-informed people who could go out and speak about environmental issues. And, we are so grateful to our founding teachers Nona Dennis, Kathy Cuneo, and the late Phyllis Faber who stayed with the program and continued to volunteer their time teaching for so many years. We – along with other EFM participants – have been greatly enriched by the efforts of many, many individuals who have participated in creating and sustaining this organization. Specifically, we want to extend our thanks to all the many instructors whose knowledge and experience formed the backbone of the Master Class and all of our programming over the past five decades.
We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the past board members, and program directors whose effort and dedication made the Master Class and community events such a success. And we want to thank all the local businesses and organizations who generously sponsored our events or assisted in fundraising. And of course we are deeply grateful to all the supporters and donors for their enthusiastic support of the organization. We are truly so appreciative of everything you have done for EFM. While our seasons are coming to an end, the legacy of EFM will continue on in many ways through all those who have participated in our classes, as well as through our publications and videos.
We encourage you all to stay active in climate action and environmental advocacy.
With the greatest thanks,
Susan Rusche, EFM Board President
Environmental Forum of Marin is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and a United Way of the Bay Area Certified Agency.
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