2016 President & Chairman's Letter

President and Chairman's Letter - By Justine Vogel and Bruce Mast - RiverWoods at Exeter The following letter was published in the 2016 RiverWoods Annual Report . Current and past RiverWoods Annual Reports and Financial Statements can be found by clicking here .

"You are not here to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more of who you really are." - Oprah Winfrey

Oprah... Who would have guessed we’d be quoting her in the RiverWoods Annual Report? But I think she’s nailed it with that thought.

If you ask the staff at RiverWoods what our motto is, they would reply, “Be Better.” Not “be perfect” mind you, just better, better every day. We believe that no matter how good you are, there is always room to grow.

We are in a constant state of blossoming into who we really are, as individuals and as a community. This is true for our residents, for our Board, and for our staff. That blossoming can take the form of new relationships, friendships and even love. We see it every day. All you need is a heart that is open to opportunity.

The blossoming can take the form of new and continuing learnings for residents and for staff. All you need is a mind that is open to challenge.

It can take the form of outreach, as we do every year by working with another local nonprofit that serves our Seacoast Region. All you need is a mission that is open to partnering and possibilities. Blossoming can take the form of building a deeper connection within our RiverWoods community, as we did this year when a team of residents organized and designed a program to teach critical business skills to our staff. All you need are people who appreciate how interdependent we all are.

It turns out that “Better” may be challenging, but it can also be pretty fun. Years ago our previous CEO defined RiverWoods by saying, “This is not a parking lot.” Well, amen to that. We are a community where learning and growing are the price of admission – at 30, at 50, at 75 and at 90. And we are not done yet. Part of our “be better” this year has been to take a good hard look at ourselves – to challenge what we mean when we say we are a charitable nonprofit.


We are proud of our successful operations, but it isn’t enough. We can be better. So this year our Board wrote a Charitable Intent Philosophy that defined our intentions in six strong points:

- We will responsibly serve the growing need– the older adult population is growing; there is more to do.

- We will serve deeply, not cursorily– better is about making a real difference in lives, not about selling services.

- We will use the skills we have developed to meet the need– our responsibility is to use our success and knowledge wisely.

- We will be directly and intentionally charitable – better is about doing what is right, not what is easy.

- We will serve the broadest spectrum of seniors possible.

- We will use the financial success of our work to serve in other aspects.

We will blossom into what we really are through our work together and by following these tenets. We are good but we will be even better. And we are not done yet. None of us are. Just ask Oprah.

(Click here to view the entire 2016 RiverWoods Annual Report)

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