At the close of each year, our team reflects quietly on what we will carry forward: what we have learned, whom we have met, and what we have contributed along the way. 2020’s look-back was, no surprise, quite different. As we reflected on the complexities and challenges of running a small business while parenting through a pandemic, a divisive election, and a national reckoning with racism, we thought deeply about the privileges in place that led us to close the year still with our business intact.
As a woman-owned and women-led firm, we are acutely aware that 2.5 million women lost their jobs or left the workforce during the pandemic. By the last month of 2020, 38% of women-owned businesses were unable to pay rent. We do not take these numbers for granted. Rather, we use them to fuel our focus on impact: To do what we can, with what we have, every single day, to help people and organizations realize their full potential.
The events of 2020 provided a daily reminder of how much our little time here matters. So, in the chaos, complexity, and sadness of last year, we sought out opportunities for transformative change: we focused on collaborating with our community to channel negative energy into positive social impact; we created campaigns and coalitions that advanced more equitable policies, and we found opportunities to speak truth to power, with love—while disrupting broken systems and identifying better ways of working.
As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her 2018 documentary Notorious RBG, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” Every step we took in 2020 alongside our partners and clients, was a reminder that this is what we work for. Yes, change takes time, but the steps we took in 2020—and the steps that we’ll continue to take in the years to come—are moving us intentionally toward a more just, equitable society. But we must keep the momentum of this movement going, and we must keep pressing forward, together.
I hope what you’ll find in this year’s social impact report is an even deeper commitment to pressing forward—through our values, with shared accountability, and toward long-term systems change. We may be a small business, but together with you, our impact is great.
Carrie Fox (she/her)
Founder and CEO
Mission Partners, Benefit LLC