Forging ahead: a message from Maria Vertkin

Dear friends,

It’s been two weeks since we announced a major funding shortfall and its aftermath. The mood at Found in Translation is a flurry of many commingling feelings. There is sorrow around pausing programming for the incoming class, a group of incredible women we couldn’t wait to welcome, and who rearranged their lives and their hopes in preparation for this opportunity. And the knowledge that we had no other choice. With our reduced capacity, we couldn’t have held the training on the scheduled timeline—not in a way that would deliver the quality programming they deserve. I feel a deep sadness about reducing the size of our team and losing cherished colleagues. And at the same time a sense of relief, knowing that these cuts stopped the organization from a financial freefall. 

I am in my second week back on the job, and I am awed by this unprecedented challenge, but not dispirited. I feel lucky to be back at the helm of the greatest nonprofit organization in the world (I may be somewhat partial). There is nowhere I’d rather be than right here, shoulder to shoulder with my old colleagues. I missed them. To be back is an overwhelming joy. This joy is mixed with the heartbreak of missing my colleagues who are no longer at Found in Translation. And the heartbreak is fuel to do everything in my power to mend what is broken and rebuild.

Making space for a full range of feelings is something Found in Translation has always been very good at. We are processing loss, and we are forging ahead with a renewed sense of purpose. 

Two weeks ago, as we revealed our situation to our supporters, friends, and alumnae, I was very worried. But as soon as we made the announcement, I could feel our community gathering around Found in Translation like a hug. Alumnae reached out to say they are at the ready to do whatever is needed to help. Old friends and supporters from Found in Translation’s earliest days reached out. Mark Stewart, who founded the organization with me in 2011, has returned to the Board of Directors. Several donors have pledged increased support.

But we are not out of the woods just yet. A lot depends on our fundraising success over the next few months. Right now we are gearing up to launch a fundraising campaign, and I hope you will join us to write Found in Translation’s next chapter.

With deepest gratitude,

Maria Vertkin