From Marc Porter Magee <[email protected]>
Subject Special Edition: The New Reality Roundup | What We're Thankful For | Week 142
Date November 24, 2022 3:00 PM
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Dear John,

Happy Thanksgiving.

"Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good,” Maya Angelou wrote ([link removed]) in Celebrations, her 2006 collection of poems.

Tonight, as we're gathered around a meal in gratitude, I know that I'll be sharing thanks for being surrounded by family and friends after more than two years where we collectively realized the importance of these congregations and the reminder of how easy it is to take them for granted. I'll be thinking particularly of our children–yours, mine and our country's, and how after the isolation, missed memories and unfulfilled promises of education, we owe them a holiday season filled with the joy they deserve.

We have much to be thankful for at 50CAN: an incredibly committed staff that have taken up the challenge of dreaming bolder dreams with enthusiasm, partners across the country who have sought collaboration and wins through the power of coalitions and supporters who have signed on to our vision for the future of American education and have donated both time and resources to allow our work to continue.

Below, I've invited some members of the 50CAN family to share their own notes of gratitude. I hope their own reflections will inspire your own and that your celebrations tonight are filled with inspiration, joy and love.


Marc Porter Magee, PhD
50CAN Founder and CEO

@marcportermagee ([link removed])

What We're Thankful For

"As I embark on the Thanksgiving season, I’m grateful that for close to a decade, JerseyCAN has been an organization that places progress for kids over power for adults. And having personally just completed a battery of medical tests for my yearly physical exam while pushing professionally for the release of statewide student test data, I’m especially grateful for the fact that on every front, data does not equal destiny. In fact, if we expose data early enough and act on what we see, we can disrupt destiny and change outcomes for the better."
-Paula White
Executive Director, JerseyCAN

"I'm thankful for the community of parents we serve. Their commitment to a better education for not only their children but for those of the communities they come from is one of my grounding pillars as we work to achieve this reality for all students. Without them, we wouldn't have been able to accomplish all the things we were able to do as an organization."
-Lue Ortiz
Bilingual Organizer, ConnCAN

"I’m thankful to be part of an organization that dreams big and works tirelessly to make changes that have a real impact on the lives of kids and families across our country. Seeing the creativity, diligence and passion that each member of our team brings to their work keeps me going. Being able to lend my skills to support the efforts our teams are leading in their states is incredibly fulfilling. And even though the work is serious and the need to drive change is urgent, we are still able to have fun together and find time and space to celebrate with one another."
-Alex Lawrence
VP of Strategic Growth, 50CAN

"I’m thankful for the community of supporters behind NewMexicoKidsCAN as we look toward celebrating our 5 year anniversary in the new year. From every national partner that has provided advice or shared our work, to every New Mexican who has used their voice to demand change, and every donor and supporter in between - I am grateful. Your support fortifies us. We will never stop fighting to provide the education our students deserve." -Amanda Aragon
Executive Director,

"I am thankful to have the opportunity to create for people who are so passionate about what they do and the students they are fighting for. One thing that I am most thankful for is the privilege to participate in the annual 50CAN Summit that is held in one of our unique states each year. I am constantly in awe of the work my fellow staff members put into making these events so successful and our outstanding Executive Directors who get to share the amazing impact they are making on education in their state."
-Megan Kitchen
Creative Manager, 50CAN

"I am thankful for the very opportunity to give thanks. It's a blessing to wake up each morning with peace and purpose, and I am thankful I get to do it with the most amazing family, friends and colleagues one could ask for. As Phillipians 1:3 says, 'I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.'"
-Marcus Brandon
Executive Director, CarolinaCAN

"I'm thankful for my team at work, for my community in Delaware and for the 50CAN team. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by dedicated, passionate and truly caring people who make me hopeful for the future."
-Britney Mumford
Executive Director, DelawareCAN

"After the last several years I am grateful to be able to work alongside (and in person) with families across Colorado who continue to fight for the needs of our kids, inside and outside the classroom."
-Nicholas Martinez
Executive Director, TEN Colorado

"I am thankful for having a high-quality, intelligent, fun, diverse group of colleagues spread across the country. I'm thankful that we share a passion for helping kids and I'm thankful that we trust each other and have a work environment that challenges us in a positive way."
-Jonathan Nikkila,
Executive VP, 50CAN

"I am thankful for the community of advocates at 50CAN that allow me as a leader in Connecticut to fight for kids every day and strive for excellence. And to my board in Connecticut: I’m thankful for your steady leadership and steadfast support as we try to drive forward hard, necessary changes. You inspire me. This work can’t be done alone and so this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my staff and the local partners whose collaboration is essential to progress."
-Subira Gordon
Executive Director, ConnCAN

"I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to do this work and for all of our partners, friends and supporters who help make it happen. Together, we have made immense strides advocating for students, helping parents find their voice, and standing up for what is right. I am also so grateful for the many talented and dedicated people in the 50CAN network - my friends - who work tirelessly to improve education in their state."
-Michael O'Sullivan
Executive Director, GeorgiaCAN

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50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now is a nonprofit organization that works at the local level to advocate for a high-quality education for all kids, regardless of their address.

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