A Message from Jeremy Madsen, CEO

It is rare for any of us to get a chance to take a break to relax, refresh, and re-energize. But over the last three months, I got the chance to do just that due to an award for the O2 Initiatives program. Each year, O2 Initiatives provides a very select handful of nonprofit organizations with funding to allow the organization’s executive leader to take a three-month sabbatical while other key staff develop leadership skills. The goal of the O2 Initiatives is to make worthy organizations stronger and more impactful for years to come.

During my three months away, I got to do some amazing things. I hiked on a glacier and stood beside the fjords in Norway. I took in Paris. I got 2 ½ minutes of training and was sent off to kayak some rapids on the Rogue River in Oregon. I hiked a mountain overlooking Crater Lake and witnessed how stunningly beautiful the results of a massive volcanic explosion can be–7,000 years after everything has cooled down.

But I also spent a lot of time at home here in the Bay Area. Every chance I had I was in the Oakland hills, in one of the East Bay regional parks, hiking and listening to redwood trees groan in the wind. I’d walk down the street in my town of Alameda, to grab a burrito or crepe for lunch or simply play pinball at our local pinball museum. I got to experience some amazing culture at places like the new SFMOMA and the Berkeley Rep.

And all of these experiences reinforced to me that we live in one of the most amazing places in the entire world. And as I marveled at the Bay Area, I reminded myself that our region is amazing not just by chance. Preserving our open spaces and creating great cities and towns takes the conscious and proactive work of organizations like Greenbelt Alliance and people who are passionate about this amazing place in which we all live, work, and play. Without this work, the Bay Area would not be someplace we can cherish.

And so, recognizing that it is because of special people that the Bay Area is so amazing, and that many of these people are the ones that have made Greenbelt Alliance what it is, I want to thank each and every one of our supporters for making our work possible. I am eager to jump back into my role as CEO at Greenbelt Alliance and continue to shape the future of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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