The Power of One - "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."  This quote from Helen Keller embraces The Centre on Philanthropy's belief in the Power of One - one volunteer, one charity, one donor, one advocate; one Rotary Group can affect progress on a monumental scale

Change can start with the passion and commitment of one individual.  Pam related stories that were just a tiny, tiny example of some of the amazing things individuals are doing every day, but they demonstrate something very important; that each of us has the power to work towards the improvement of our country, and even neighbouring nations from across the globe. 

Pam continued, as I have said many times, Bermuda is a community of givers.  We have over 40% of our population volunteering, and over 70% donating to charity.  There are almost 400 registered charities, not including the many church, sport and youth groups that are not registered.  And yet, there are still many social ills that plaque us.  Which begs the question, what more can be done?  Jim Lord's book, 'What Kind of World do you Want' features the saying "Imagine if everyone who wanted to change the world, knew they could."  So imagine if this power of one, this power that everyone possesses to be a positive vehicle for change was harnessed.  Multiply the power of one, by the power of billions.  Or, in the case of Bermuda, by 60,000.   All of us, working together for the betterment of our island home.  Imagine what that could create!  True collaboration is what we need to leverage the ability and desire that many of us have to make a positive difference.

            Fostering effective partnerships is one of the 4 pillars of The Centre on Philanthropy's mission statement.  In addition our vision statement says that a 'caring and giving community' will only come when effective and efficient charities and nonprofit organisations collaborate with the private sector and Government. 

            So when we began preparing for our 2009 conference we knew we had to continue to encourage the spirit of collaboration and cooperation for the benefit of our community.  And thus, the planning for The Power of One Third Sector conference was off and running.  We were eager to have a mix of both international and local speakers with experience in many areas present to attendees the latest information and advice in key areas.  These include; How do I get my board involved in fundraising?  What do I really need to know about using technology?  Can my faith organisation find ways to collaborate with others?  Can we apply business strategies to social problems?  The Power of One Conference, being held on February 27 and 28 will address these and many other topics.  We will have 24 workshops, and 4 plenary sessions, with 19 overseas presenters from the US, Canada and the UK and 27 local panellists and speakers. 

            'Individually we are one drop.  Together we are an ocean.'  And surely, while one drop can make a difference, an ocean can move mountains.  Of course, Rotary Groups have already embraced this - your success is based on collaboration between your members in this country, and also on partnering with other groups around the world.  So, we invite and encourage others to be a part of this movement, this movement to maximise our individual power by joining it to another's.  Create a giving circle with friends.  Form a neighbourhood watch group.  Volunteer for a charity.  And of course, the first step, register now to attend the Power of One conference.  There is no limit to what can be accomplished if we as a community decide to work together.