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Dennis W. Felty President, KHS
Keystone Human Services, Annual Meeting 2002
November 21, 2002
As many of you know I have been working on a fine art photography project-photographing memorial art around the world, including Rome, Milan, Genoa, Paris, New York and Moscow. In Milano there are personal monuments 80 feet high. In Genoa monuments often depict the entire family surrounding the patriarch at the time of death. In Novodevichie Cemetery in Moscow, the Commander of the Soviet tank forces has a 1/3 scale granite tank as his memorial and the Commander of the Soviet Rocket forces is depicted larger than life talking on the phone as intercontinental ballistic rockets launch in the background as a prelude to amagedon. The Cosmonauts stand larger than life wearing their space suits and holding their helmets in their arms. In Rome, a teacher holds a book while children sit at her feet and a doctor sculpted in white marble holds a new born baby he has just delivered. In Steglieno, an exquisitely beautiful young women in a full swoon mourns the passing of a pillar of the community.
This work has brought me to two conclusions: first: the bigger the monument the less the faith and the second: everyone in this world wants to know that their life has mattered and that their presence in this life has made a difference.
The great gift of Keystone is that all of us associated with Keystone have the opportunity to know that our work has indeed mattered. As Keystone has grown, evolved and matured over the last 30 years, it has become one of the major community resources and institutions in our community, now bringing over $65,000,000 in resources to the children, adults and families we serve.
It is certainly common to celebrate the past– especially during an anniversary event. However, the past is prologue. It is only a historical reality, a reality that we can no longer change.
What truly matters is the future – the next 30 years. Keystone, driven by its Vision of how the world can be, has built a capacity that will certainly make a difference for decades to come.
We have discovered that we really can change the world through helping thousands of children, individuals and families to live better, more meaningful and productive lives. In this work, we can change the world in profound ways by encouraging: personal choice and decision making, encouraging every person to be participating, contributing members of society regardless of ability or disability.
Each of us here this evening has been granted extraordinary gifts that may include; education, privilege, talent, wisdom, faith, passion, leadership, wealth, health, energy and perseverance. Keystone as an institution, is the mechanism that allows those extraordinary gifts to be organized and applied in a manner that makes a material difference in the life of our community and in the lives of the people we serve.
Everyone present tonight has a special and unique relationship to Keystone - to its vision and to its work. As we look forward to the next 30 years, each of us has a great responsibility to make effective use of both our individual gifts as well as Keystone’s significant institutional capacity that has been granted to us.
Over the last thirty years in Pennsylvania alone, funding for community services has grown from a level that was all but non-existent to over 3 billion dollars. The resources that have been trusted to our stewardship are far beyond our greatest dreams at the time of Keystone’s inception. In comparison to the realities other organizations around the world face, the stewardship of these resources challenges us with amazing opportunities and responsibilities.
We have made great use of Robert Greenleaf’s concepts on Servant Leadership though the years. Greenleaf said that the Servant Leader means being a servant first and a leader second. It begins with the innate desire to serve others which is followed by a calling to lead. The Servant Leader, leads by making sure that other people’s highest order needs are being served. Greenleaf states: “The test of this is: do people – while being served – grow as persons? Do they – while being served – become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous and maybe even more likely to become servant leaders themselves?
The forces of good and evil in the world are propelled by the thoughts, attitudes and actions of individual beings. What will happen to our world, our society our communities our families and our institutions will be shaped and determined by the collective actions of individual people.
Because of their structure and very nature, our institutions potentiate and expand the capacity we have as individuals. Consequently, our societies institutions have a great need for Servant Leadership that allows the institution to contribute to the greater good by encouraging individual growth, well being, choice, self-determination, freedom, justice and a reciprocal contribution to the community.
As Keystone looks to the future with the capacity and resources granted to us, we find ourselves holding a profound responsibility associated with exercising the concepts of Servant Leadership. We have learned that what we envision over time frequently does become reality. Consequently, we have a great responsibility to be absolutely certain that our goals serve the greater good and that we make effective and efficient use of the capacity and resources granted us.
Servant Leadership calls each of us to leadership. Self advocates who work to realized personal dreams and achieve justice in their own lives – family members who want their children to have opportunity, friends and meaningful life experiences – direct care professionals who as servant leaders on a moment by moment basis, day after day, use their own will, skills, ability and freedom to work for the well-being and transcendence of others – the people in government leadership who set policy, manage the resources and define society’s position on organized caring – the volunteers who commit their time, energy and talent to serve others, often opening their families to those who have need for both family and acceptance – the formal leaders who as servants carry the burdon of institutional leadership and are tasked with how best to use the gifts of Keystone’s capacity and resources – and finally, the people who as trustees carry the burdon of governance and are responsible for the ultimate direction and stewardship of the resources and capacity of the organization.
We have been granted much over the last thirty years. The accomplishments of the past, however, will seem small in relationship to what we will be called on to do in the future.
I would ask that each person here tonight rededicate yourself as a Servant Leader, committing your time, energy, passion, talent, wisdom and wealth to the work that is before us.
In the end, the greatest of monuments any of us can hope to leave behind is a better world.