Dear Coro Supporter,

I want to thank you for being part of the Coro community. Your commitment to Coro and to our future means so much.  Since 1957, Coro Southern California has been shaping the future of our democracy by cultivating a collaborative community of impact leaders.  For 60 years, we have been training solutions-oriented and future-focused educators, social innovators, veterans, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders.  Here at Coro, we deeply believe thriving democracies require ethical and courageous leaders to work and lead across differences.

2017 has been an exciting year for us!  We welcomed our 60th class of Fellows in Public Affairs who are hard at work in the communities of Southern California.  We also launched our new Youth Fellows Program, cultivating Southern California high school students to take on leadership positions in their schools and communities.  And this year we will be presenting Technology X Democracy, a one-day conference to bring leading technology innovators, policymakers, scholars, and campaign practitioners together to explore the intersection of technology and democracy and discuss how we need to adapt in order to strengthen democracy in the digital age.  This kind of program innovation is only possible because of thoughtful contributions from supporters like you.  

We have big plans for 2018 to get Coro training to more people and to continue our important work of equipping emerging leaders with the skills, networks and resolve to work across differences and drive transformative change.

Here at Coro, we understand the urgency and importance of strong, effective leadership.  If you haven’t already done so, please consider a gift to Coro in your year-end giving.  By donating what you can, you can help cultivate the next generation of civic leaders to implement the kind of concrete and meaningful change that our region needs.

After 60 years, we have a reservoir of transformative reflections from a community of alumni working and leading across sectors, institutions, and traditional boundaries.  As we close out a successful 2017, we’d like to celebrate and salute Coro alumna, Ruth Dawson (Fellows Program, 2008).  Ruth is a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she focuses on reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, and gender equity.

I wanted to leave you with Ruth’s reflections on her Coro Fellowship experience:

How do you bring Coro experience into your day-to-day work at the ACLU?
“A huge part of my job is asking questions and getting to the root of problems. My organization and position uses an integrated advocacy approach: legal advocacy, policy advocacy, and community engagement/education work. Coro has given me a broad toolbox to choose from and use to tailor solutions. Asking the right questions of our adversaries, our partners, our clients, and ourselves is crucial to how we address the problem and the solution we envision. The nature of the work is that we often go against authority, and I think that Coro allowed me to really check myself. I’m able to stay away from the narrative that certain actors are inherently bad or biased. I’ve been able to come to compromises and actually work with different parties that some would traditionally have difficulties doing.”

What critical moment from your time as a Coro Fellow do you think back to most often?
“I’m still very close with many members of my class, and I often think back to about a year and a half after we graduated. One of our cohort members passed away, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma the winter of our fellowship.  Without question, we all dropped what we were doing and flew across the country to be together and honor Jamen Amato. Another cohort member, Chris, realized that we were the last group of friends that Jamen made before he was sick. We spent the day together, talking about him and sharing our memories.”

If you could go back and give advice to pre-Coro Ruth, what would you say?
“I wouldn’t change anything that happened that year. I think that every mistake made me learn so much more than the times that I didn’t fall on my face. Don’t underestimate the impact that one year can have on the rest of your life.”

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