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Over the past 26 years, Acton has built a strong foundation seemingly in preparation for this exact moment in history—a moment that needs both morality and freedom more than ever. Over the course of the last month, we have seen protests breaking out across the country. We have watched as protestors from all walks of life shout with disdain at the state of our current political climate.

According to Freedom House’s “2016 Freedom in the World” report, 2016 was “the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.” Specifically in the United States, the country received a negative “trend arrow,” meaning that while the United States is free, it’s headed in the wrong direction. Now, more than ever, Acton is needed to spread the urgent message that virtue and democracy are paramount.

That is why our Acton alumni program is so crucial. The goal of the program is to better equip our valued alumni with the resources and opportunities needed to have a stronger, longer-lasting impact in local communities.

At the 26th Annual Dinner in October 2016, Cheryl Cuthbertson, director of strategic initiatives at Children of the Nations and a 2016 Acton University alumna, had the opportunity to share how Acton has shaped her thinking:

In three days I was mesmerized and changed by colleagues that imparted vision, theory and solutions to the bitterness of poverty. I was intoxicated by new paradigms that challenged our approach to long-term charity. We took a deep dive into theories of the free competitive market, small and medium enterprises as the engine of prosperity, the negative impact of crony capitalism and marrying good intentions with sound policy … Acton is challenging me to shift my focus from support to empowerment, from help to hope.

She relayed the impact Acton principles have on practitioners in industries across the spectrum. Through catalysts like Cheryl, Acton principles move from abstraction to action.

Like Cheryl, Acton University alumni in Milwaukee are also taking the Acton principles to heart. They have formed a reading group and have spread the word in their community. They are also planning their own Acton-themed event in the near future.

In the coming year, the alumni relations program will equip the alumni network with better resources. This will include:

  • a new online platform that allows alumni to connect with others in their geographic region;
  • an alumni job board, connecting Acton-minded employees and employers;
  • a newsletter highlighting important work and updates from the network;
  • and regional networks.

Our hope is that you begin your 2017 positively and focus on the good you can do in your own community, rather than the negativity that pervaded so much of 2016. Together we can be a force for good in the United States and globally.

For more information on our alumni programs and how you can get more involved, please contact Patrick Oetting at poetting@acton.org.

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