A Letter From Outgoing FS President Bart Niswonger
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.
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.