In the lifespan of nonprofits, 30 years is no small potatoes. It means that many people have worked hard to keep Matrix moving forward: the founding mothers in 1983, the first funders (Gannett Foundation), and the first families that found support and information in Marin County…who then told their friends to come to us.
In those 30 years, we went from supporting families in Marin County to expanding services to families in the North Bay to becoming known at the regional and state level. Eventually, we joined the national network of more than 105 federally funded parent centers. Our knowledge base grew to the point that we were designated by the U.S. Department of Education to provide technical assistance to other parent centers in the western states and Pacific island regions.
All of this work — all of the families we have seen, all of the resources, information and training materials we have shared, and all of the parent-professional partnerships we have worked on — was not accomplished alone. It was a team effort by dedicated board and staff, volunteers, the disability community, families, professionals, funders, and community members. These are the folks who believed in our mission of empowering families. They knew that informed, confident families make important decisions that will benefit their children with special needs.
Each of those partners can make the claim “I am Matrix.” The faces of each are different; the actions each took were different: from the family seeking support to the funder who invested in us to the staff and volunteers who connected families with each other and provided critical information to the community, which then became more inclusive.
Our theme for our 30th anniversary is “I am Matrix.” You’ll see and hear vignettes throughout the year from folks who explain just why they “are Matrix.”
In the Spring 2013 issue of the Networker, we look back at our beginnings to where we are today, and list ways that you can help us celebrate 30 years of partnering and service. This year will be action-packed with events and opportunities marking this important occasion. We hope that you will join us wherever and whenever you can, because…you are Matrix, too!
Nora Thompson, Executive Director