Summer 2018 was full of momentum for the 1882 Foundation’s program work. We launched into planning mode for the annual Symposium event through a deepening partnership with the Smithsonian (May 2019), brought on a new team member to spearhead the first Chinese American Women in History Conference (March 2019), revamped our digital presence, and focused on continuing strong community programing in the DC area.
All of this progress would not have been possible without the commitment of our growing team, internship program, and plans for sustaining the work of the 1882 Foundation. In addition to our core group of Ted, Stan, Ting-Yi, John, Sojin, and Ali, we brought on the energetic crew of interns who have now truly become part of the 1882 Foundation. The summer was full of travel to meet with 1882 Foundation partners and bringing them into the fold on our existing programming like Talk Story and education advocacy.
We celebrated this milestone with the first (hopefully annual) 1882 Foundation Retreat on August 24-25, 2018. Tucked away in sprawling wine-country Purcellville, VA, the Sciambi home was bursting with conversation, strategy sessions, food, and late into the night with the moving scenes of the Joy Luck Club. The festivities opened with team break-out strategy sessions, deciding together how to make recommendations on how to prioritize upcoming events and goals for the next 12-18 months by program area. To balance work and play, we also took advantage of the beautiful weather by going for a walk, and made a few sheep-cow friends along the way. The evening was made complete by a barbeque led by head chef Mohkeed Wong and grill-master Ted Gong (click the link to read Mohkeed’s blog post about the inspiration for our classic culinary experience). After we completed the meal with lazy-man’s s’mores over the gas stove, we retreated to the in-home movie theater to watch the classic 1993 Joy Luck Club, inspired by the conversations around Crazy Rich Asians and the legacy of all-Asian casts in American cinema. There wasn’t a dry-eye in the room by the end of the film, inspired by the timeless power of the stories of trauma, loss, migration, inter-generational family tensions, and love.
The next morning opened early, and we dove right in to the group presentations and discussions about how to prioritize key program areas. Using a technique by our senior consultant specialist Russell Gong, we organized our work into quadrants based on impact and feasibility. The conversation lasted all morning, but I think it’s safe to say we all walked away with a renewed sense of purpose and belief in the importance of our work. Particularly as many of our team head back to school and reduce their hours working on the Foundation (as I write this from my school’s library in midtown New York City), the retreat successfully emphasized the best way for us to remain focused on key projects and to sustain the momentum of external programs and to improve internal communication.
This experience would not have been possible without the generosity of our host, Ann (honorary 1882 Foundation advisor), our chef Mohkeed, and helper Qi.