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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue Quixote Foundation ten-year anniversary

Quixote Foundation wants to see free people in fair societies on a healthy planet. What do you want to see?

Read featured vows written by people like you

Read Quixote Foundation's original vows and idealisms

Submit a vow you'd like us to take(and an idealism you'd like us to practice)

Featured vows and idealisms

We appreciate all the creative and thought-provoking vows and idealisms we've received so far. What are you waiting for? Chime on in!

Idealism} {believe

I vow to believe in the possibilities, without hesitation, reservation, limitation or expectation

— June Wilson, Quixote Foundation, Seattle, Washington

Idealism} {sharing

I vow to tell everyone I know about this wonderful set of postcards and this whole idea!

— Anonymous

Idealism} {accountable

I vow to be brave on behalf of our democracy. Our vote is how we share the steering of our ship of state. It is at once delicate and enduring, but in need of our daily courage and vigilance to protect it. Voting systems and processes have become more reliable and transparent in some ways, in some places, but we still have a long way to go.

— Pamela Smith, Verified Voting Foundation, Carlsbad, CA

Idealism} {uniting

I vow to use our family foundation to bring both family and non-family members together to solve problems and not prolong division.

— Anonymous

Idealism} {Simplicity

I vow to demystify IT and data solutions, so that they are more accessible and appealing to all. By honoring the aesthetic consideration of simplicity I vow to discover the most direct route to success for each project. I vow to listen to each team members' input and incorporate their best ideas into my daily practice. Committing to this process then enhances the functionality of our shared work, while embracing the uniqueness of each user.

— Bryan Jeffrey Graham, Big Tada Inc, New Orleans, LA

Idealism} {healthy

I vow to consider my diet when thinking of ways to contribute to a sustainable planet. If Americans reduced meat consumption by 10 percent, it would free up 12 million tons of grain annually. It takes 4,000 gallons of water to provide a days worth of food per person for a meat-centered diet, and 300 gallons for a plant based diet. I vow to eat a more plant based diet, therefore contributing to a healthier planet and also to a healthier me.

— Dawn Jewell, Quixote Foundation, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {cycling

I vow to help protect our environment, promote health and reduce dependence on oil by cycling, by making mileage-conscious decisions about work, home and social life, by teaching others to cycle commute, and by continuing to advocate for cycle friendly communities.

— Joey Gray, Cyclistas, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {respectfully pushy

I vow to respectfully push myself and others to discuss and explore, rather than avoid our differences.

— Jason Franklin, Resource Generation, New York, NY

Idealism} {Simplify

I vow to get on my bike or walk for the good of the planet and myself, to always carry reusable shopping bags and to never buy bottled water.

— Nancy Bales, Ecotrust, Portland, OR

Idealism} {philanthropic

I vow to encourage foundations and donors of all shapes, sizes (and ages!) to collaborate, not isolate, and to pool their resources in support of joint strategies that advance the most pressing social, environmental, economic and human rights issues of our day.

— Amber French, Proteus Fund, Amherst, MA

Idealism} {engaging

I vow to try to leave the world in better shape for the next generation and to lead the way by working to improve the practice of civic engagement with passion, optimism, conviction, and innovation. And a little bit of fun!

— Geri Mannion, Carnegie Corporation of New York, NY

Idealism} {payback

I vow to work with and support only those organizations that are run (board and staff) by communities of color or are multi-racial. I appreciate the desire of some to take progressive organizations to "scale" but, unfortunately, due to systemic racism, organizations that have the current capacity to be taken to scale are almost exclusively white. So some of us have to step up and say "If it's all white, it ain't progressive". So huge props to the youth organizing movement for showing us boomers a better way.

— Nancy Harris Dalwin, Fusion Consultants, San Francisco, CA

Idealism} {health

I vow to continue to educate my clients about the beauty of urban infill versus suburban sprawl. I vow I will be a resource and a model for questions about reducing our housing footprint. I vow to be the voice that says we create better, more livable neighborhoods and healthier, happier, more connected humans by making better decisions regarding urban design, home building, and remodeling—decisions that conserve resources, utilize good design and incorporate materials that are healthy for people and the environment.

— Tashana Kolanowski, Repka-Kolanowski household, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {multigenerational

I vow to work personally and professionally to leave the world a better place for those that follow me.

— Martha Vukelich-Austin, Foundation for Madison's Public Schools and Quixote Foundation, Madison, WI

Idealism} {open

I vow to create access to knowledge and freedom of expression. We are in a "Gutenberg Moment," when the rules governing the digital age are being determined. I vow to make sure those rules serve our remix culture and uphold the basic human rights of access to information, freedom of expression and the right of assembly.

— Helen Brunner, Media Democracy Fund, Washington DC

Idealism} {everybody's

I vow to address the environment from a different angle. With mainstream environmental organizations historically being and serving middle-class, white Americans, a good part of our population has gone overlooked. Well not anymore. I vow to work with underserved and low economic communities and the organizations that serve them as partners in this effort, as we explore the effects of climate change and ways to deal with and combat it.

— Christopher Harvey, National Wildlife Federation, Reston, VA

Idealism} {power together

I vow to continue working as hard as I can to organize funders to pool their funds, to support groups working together across constituent, member and geographical boundaries. I vow to remain a voice for investing in local instutitions and leaders, not at the expense of national organizations but in balance with them so the progressive left has a movement-building vision with investments made at all scales of social change.

— Hugh Hogan, North Star Fund, New York, NY

Idealism} {driving

I vow to drive the speed limit even if everyone else is driving 80 mph. I think it is a radical practice; it saves gas, reduces our emissions and practices living more consciously.

— Linda Schade, TrueVote, Baltimore, MD

Idealism} {The Greater Good

I vow to re-evaluate based on evidence. Doubt should not be crippling, but I believe keeping the big goals in mind is key. It's always worth taking a second look if there's a better way to get there.

— Larry Norden, Brennan Center, New York, NY

Idealism} {Real Peace

I vow to listen to others and appreciate the diversity they bring to our complex world, to concede and persuade appropriately, to flow in peace in this deep, wide ocean.

— Meg Leaf, MegaMoments DVD, Park City, UT

Idealism} {Retail

I vow to carry a re-usable shopping bag with me at all times.

— Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation, Sacramento, CA

Idealism} {Revive

I vow to act as gasoline on the fires of dormant idealism, as I've been so ignited, and will refuse to smother or be smothered.

— Joseph Lorenzo Hall, UC Berkeley School of Information, Berkeley, CA | Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton, NJ

Idealism} {Contagious

I vow to have more fun than people who don't share my values.

— Alan Durning, Sightline Institute, Seattle, Washington

Idealism} {Chocolate

I vow to eat locally and organic as much as possible. I vow to enjoy this fully...particularly chocolate!

— Neelima Shah, The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington

Idealism} {Democratic

I vow to build people power - the ultimate source of social change in this world. I vow to help organizations tap this power to change the way decisions are made in this country; to weaken the power of organized money and strengthen the power of organized people. And I vow to do all this while staying true to all the other important personal and professional commitments in my life.

— Gideon Rosenblatt, ONE/Northwest, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {Attentive

I vow to let intuition play its role. There's an inner part of me that connects naturally but intangibly with all kinds of input. It "knows" things differently than my more tangible thinking process does, and often directs me toward the right path even before I can describe exactly what I'm wondering. I'll be patient, pay attention to the quiet voice that emerges from the stillness when it's ready, and make the most of the greater knowledge that results.

— Erik Hanisch, Quixote Foundation, Seattle, Washington

Idealism} {Neighborly

I vow to love my neighborhood. I will get to know my neighbors to make my community stronger. I will shop at local stores that stock locally produced goods to strengthen our local economy. I will walk or bicycle instead of driving. I will take transit. All of this I will do to reduce my use of carbon based fuel and to have a gentler impact on the earth.

— Steve Hiniker, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Idealism} {transformative

I vow to take the organizational risks necessary to push for transformative change in 2009—affordable, quality universal health care—and to challenge our allies to do the same. I would like to foster a level of trust and shared vision among progressive organizations that allows a higher level of coordination and synergy. To take advantage of our collective potential opportunity in 2009, progressives must be willing to manage turf issues and parochial concerns. I hope to be a model of that behavior.

— John Hickey, Colombia, MO

Idealism} {bountiful

I vow to continue to work to save local threatened farmland so our northwest communities can have access to fresh organic food. I vow to support local farmers, buy organic, and save the bounty of the northwest! PCC Farmland Trust wants to see a world where all have access to fresh organic food. That food should be affordable and within walking distance. We see farmers revered for their knowledge and paid honorably. We see people tending gardens to find the thrill and labor of growing, a tangible connection to the earth, and gratefulness to the farmers who do this every day.

— Kelly Sanderbeck, PCC Farmland Trust, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {Refreshing

I vow to advocate for nonprofit staff sabbaticals. When a long-term staff member is away, other people can step up to bigger roles, more decision-making and more authority, gaining confidence that lasts. Needless to say, it's great for the person on sabbatical too!

— Jon Gould, Children's Alliance, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {Return On

I vow to move more money into investments that directly further our mission. It's almost dishonest to pretend we can invest our money in traditional ways without creating more of the problems we're trying to solve with a small part of it—so let's get it all working for good.


Idealism} {Equitable

I vow to remember that our work is facilitated by people who are sometimes less visible: the people who serve us meals at luncheons, who make copies for us at the copy shop, and who change the linens when we gather together at conferences. I vow to acknowledge and treat well all of the people who make this work happen, including support staff who often get less credit than "the stars" who lead us. Changing the world means paying attention not just to the ends, but also the means!

— Alison Johnson, Election Verification Network Coordinator, Middletown, CT

Idealism} {Sowing

I vow to be alongside, step aside, and support from behind emerging leaders wherever I find them. Leaders grow themselves, as long as the environment is safe and fertile.

— Lisa Stone, Northwest Women's Law Center, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {Graphic

I vow to better our surroundings one pixel or point at a time.

With color, typography, photography and illustration I can communicate on levels that words can not. With these I'll help note problems, support solutions, evoke emotion and make people want to change for the better. Plus everything will just plain ol' look pretty.

— Ian Hewitt-Woods, IHW Design, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {Engaging

I vow to help keep the "fun" in "funder" as we work together to advance civil, as well as civic, engagement, year in and year out.

— Allison Barlow, Brooklyn, NY

Idealism} {Yummy

I vow to bring cool progressive leaders together through good food & drink.

Creating space for important peeps in small groups & big groups to connect over mouth-watering goodness CAN & does make the world a better place. Cascading movements grow from sustainable methods & well-nourished souls. I will incorporate deliciousness into the work, stirring hall-way conversations into table revolutions.

— Lenore Hanisch, Quixote Foundation, Seattle, WA

Idealism} {Alpine

I vow to put matter over mind. Wearing Gore-Tex, big skis and a mischievous smile, I'll take people outside during blizzards, toss them down steep hills and help them discover how physical challenge can open them up. The more we risk the more we take control!

— Keneta Anderson, Consultant, Greenwater, WA

Idealism} {Environmental

We join Quixote Foundation in vowing to: turn our world upside down if that's what it takes to change it for the better; look outside the usual "movements" for interesting signs of movement; take the scenic route; find new answers by asking fresh questions; and build a posse who can illuminate the blind spots in our organization's worldview.

— Environmental Grantmakers Association, New York, NY

Featured vows and idealisms

Here are the original Quixote Foundation vows and idealisms. Join us in a vow and then join the conversation by sending one of your own.

Idealism} {Unexpected

I vow to look outside the usual "movements" for interesting signs of movement.

I'll get behind whoever does the most effective work regardless of organizational or topical boundaries. I'll recognize that people with very different worldviews can work together toward similar goals.

idealism} {decisive

I vow to find new answers by asking fresh questions.

I'll toss out my assumption that an approach must be the most effective just because it's been around the longest or is in the mainstream. If it's not broken, maybe it's time to break it!

idealism} {experimental

I vow to bring people together without obligation.

Instead of debating whether chickens or eggs should come first in progressive priorities, I'll create an incubator, then step back and see what hatches.

idealism} {confident

I vow to make ongoing conversations more important than annual reports.

I'll get to know my grantees well enough to trust their leadership on the details. I'll support them in ways that promote long-term health for their organizations and the movements they've set out to build.

idealism} {unconventional

I vow to ask "best for whom?" when I'm told something is a foundation or nonprofit best practice.

If I have to be a first funder, sole funder or jump into controversial areas to support my grantees' work, so be it.

idealism} {astronomical

I vow to build a posse who can illuminate the blind spots in my organization's worldview.

I'll assemble a cadre of advisors, listen to every voice and share power early enough for real innovation to grow out of the team.

idealism} {considerate

I vow to take the scenic route.

I'm not talking about a few brief stops at viewpoints along the highway—I mean choosing an entirely different road and taking everyone involved along for an enjoyable ride.

idealism} {demanding

I vow to turn my world upside down if that's what it takes to change it for the better.

I'll put my life's energy into this work right along with the charitable funds I help control.