Reinvesting in Meadowbrook Families and Children
Meadowbrook Collaborative • 4072 Meadowbrook Lane • St. Louis Park, MN 55426 • 952/935-9239
Dear Friends of Meadowbrook,
Believe it or not, this is our 17 holiday season as that extended family best known as the Meadowbrook Col-
laborative. I’m pleased to share with you our accomplishments from the year 2009 and update you on those yet
to come. It’s been another whirlwind year, made possible by your generosity.
We recently lost one of our most tireless advocates, Bonnie Williams, who passed peacefully in
her sleep after 95 years of dedicating her life to those in need. A fierce defender of children –
an inspirational champion whose actions were louder than words, Bonnie was a trailblazer, set-
ting high standards for those who followed. Even in her final days, Bonnie was only concerned,
when talking with her church pastor with who was going to continue her work in her absence!
Bonnie’s influence remains with us, making sure we don’t give up – for the sake of the children.
Earlier this year, America's Promise Alliance designated the Meadowbrook Collaborative
as a Promise Place for ensuring that Meadowbrook youth receive the Five Promises.
Nationwide, there are only 77 Promise Places – one other in Minnesota.
The Five Promises are those wrap-around supports that young people need for life success:
caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others.
For the purpose of this letter, I am going to refer to them as U (U = YOU).
U are the caring adults, the cornerstone of a child’s development — and
for the other four Promises that build success both in childhood and
adulthood. Parents come first. But children also need to experience sup-
port from caring adults in all areas of their lives.
U provide for safe places, physically and emo-
tionally, wherever they are — from the actual places of families,
schools, neighborhoods and communities to the virtual places of me-
dia. And your support offers that much needed healthy balance be-
tween structured, supervised activities and unstructured time.
U are the reason our children have ac-
cess to regular health check-ups, because you understand that
all children need and deserve healthy bodies, healthy minds and
U are the motivation, the gatekeepers that ensure intellectual
development, motivation and skills that equip our children for
successful work and lifelong learning.
U by example show our children the importance of helping others, of how to make a difference in their families,
at school, and in their communities.
Meadowbrook Collaborative: Page 2
I have countless pictures of U – many of them etched eternally in my heart. From the director’s chair, I get to
see the giving, feel the joy, and share in the warmth of love and friendship. You all have your own way, your
very own moment when you touch another’s life and change it forever. There’s usually an “Aha” sounding
somewhere, or the feather-falling silence of your touch on a kid’s shoulder on what feels like the worse day of
I’ll remember from 2009 our working the soil and planting our first garden, and how surprised we were to see it
still standing when the sunflowers finally reached their peak … harvest time. So many of you were engaged one
way or another in preparing the ground, donating plants and tools, helping to build the fence and storage shed.
The whole project of the garden expressed so beautifully what is the Meadowbrook Collaborative. The garden
served as cultural broker, bringing people of different backgrounds together for a common purpose – to garden.
In the process, there was a natural sharing of ideas and life experiences. Community was created around a 15’
x 15’ garden. While deciding what to plant, we learned that one vegetable meant something different in different
cultures, not just by name, but its importance and purpose. We learned across cultures about healthy living be-
liefs and the medicinal values placed on plants. In the community of gardeners, natural leadership occurred.
There were leaders and followers, and the roles of people differed by culture and temperament. There was not
much conversation about who owned the garden. The children clearly knew they were not allowed beyond the
fence without permission or consequences. The policing of the garden took a very natural course, and again
culture came into play when something turned up missing or damaged. However, across culture, it was the indi-
viduality of each respective person that most influenced the garden. What an amazing study of individual and
collective human behavior, collaboration, and cooperation. We are very excited for next spring.
I know we’re competing with a lot of worthy organizations for your support. My mailbox is
filling up, too, with the many requests for help. I will give it to you straight – today we are
raising money for our 2009-2010 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2010. We are six
months out, but we’re working to raise slightly more than $100,000. Because you are read-
ing this letter, you already know the importance of our work, and why we need to continue.
It’s not about planting a garden – it’s about reinvesting in families and children.
There are different ways you can continue to support the Meadowbrook Collaborative. Thanks to our fiscal part-
ner Park Nicollet Foundation, you can make an on-line donation using a credit card at
http://www.parknicollet.com/foundation/ways-to-give/gifts.cfm (Remember to designate your gift to the Meadow-
brook Community). Or, make a pledge for a future gift. Park Nicollet will help make the process very simple.
How about a monthly payroll deduction, and sometimes employers will match employee gifts; or, a new tradition
for gift giving, like making a gift in honor of a friend or family member this holiday season, or for a birthday or
other special occasion. Ask your book club or other social circle to drop a few bucks in the hat at your next
gathering, or ask guests to write a tax-deductible check instead of bringing a hostess gift to your next party.
Or, you can still give the old fashioned way – send us a check payable to the “Meadowbrook Collaborative.” All
gifts are tax deductible. I’ve already sent mine in. It’s a gift you will never regret for I promise to remain the ever-
frugal, responsible fiscal manager – after all, it’s my money, too.
Thank you for your continued support, and from all of us at Meadowbrook, Happy Holidays!