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A Letter From Outgoing FS President Bart Niswonger

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Outgo­ing FS Board of Trustees Pres­i­dent Bart Niswonger reflects on his past two years as pres­i­dent, the work that was accom­plished, and the posi­tive outlook he sees for the future of this organization.

Bart Niswonger

Dear Members and Friends of The Furniture Society,

lt has been my honor to serve as pres­i­dent of The Furni­ture Society Board of Trustees for the past two years. During that time we have focused on solid­i­fy­ing the orga­ni­za­tion, includ­ing hiring Monica Hampton as our exec­u­tive direc­tor, expand­ing and diver­si­fy­ing our Board of Trustees, and invest­ing in a new website and member­ship manage­ment system. There have certainly been chal­lenges, the current pandemic high among them, but I am proud that the orga­ni­za­tion is better able to with­stand them today and contin­ues to get stronger.

We have a great lead­er­ship team in Monica and incom­ing board pres­i­dent Adam Manley and incom­ing vice pres­i­dent Karen Ernst. Together they were able to refocus our efforts from an in-person confer­ence to the FS Connects online initia­tive in record time. While our confer­ence will continue to be an impor­tant compo­nent for the Society, we know it can be a chal­lenge for our members to invest the time and money to get there. FS Connects allows us to bring content to our members that tradi­tion­ally would only be avail­able at our confer­ence, but for a smaller invest­ment. I am excited to see this initia­tive grow into its potential.

Over the last two years we also launched Craft for a Greater Good. This initia­tive grew out of the board’s strate­gic plan­ning process, the organization’s vision to culti­vate a diverse commu­nity, and a call from the member­ship to find ways to make a differ­ence in the places we hold our confer­ences. Through it we use craft and design as tools of empow­er­ment and univer­sal connec­tion. After a success­ful launch in Milwau­kee, Monica and Adam have been working with Brent Skid­more in Asheville to develop the second instan­ti­a­tion, furnish­ing housing for people in need in Asheville. We recently received $50,000 to under­write these efforts for the next two years.

Thank you all for your support of The Furni­ture Society over the years, and for allow­ing me to serve on the Board of Trustees. I have greatly enjoyed the expe­ri­ence and now I look forward to seeing how The Furni­ture Society grows in years to come. Our members are our lifeblood. We cannot do this impor­tant work without you.

Bart Niswonger

July 2020