Crater Lake, Oregon. Pink, orange, and red clouds contrast against the silhouettes of a pine tree in the foreground and the crater rim in the background, with the darkened lake below. The image is a backdrop for a quote from Wendell Berry's 'Our Only World':How many scientists and how many dollars are devoted to harmony between economy and ecology, or to amity and lenity in the face of hatred and killing? To learn to meet our needs without continuous violence against one another and our only world would require an immense intellectual and practical effort, requiring the help of every human being, perhaps to the end of human time. This would be work worthy of the name “human.” It would be fascinating and lovely."

Year-End Gratitude

By Amanda Stanley and Sarah Sunu

Dec 20, 2019


4 Minute Read


It’s hard to believe that 2020 is just around the corner! It’s going to be a significant year for COMPASS— we’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary!

Many organizations never make it this far. Nonprofits work with limited resources on big, complex topics in a big, complex world. That COMPASS has reached this milestone is a testament both to our vision, and to the efforts of the COMPASS community over the past twenty years to change the world for the better, and to do it in a way that fosters a culture of care and connection. What we do is important, but how we do it is also important, and it’s a vital component of what it means to be part of COMPASS.

As mission-driven high achievers, we’re more likely to fixate on the gaps. We can become all-too-aware of the many chasms that we see: between the way the world is, and the way it could be; between how science is used now, and how we believe it needs to be used; between where we are as institutions and individuals, and where we want to be.

We are all human, so there will always be room for growth, evolution, and improvement—and one of the great things about COMPASS is that we are willing to have those conversations and work toward those changes, to contribute “immense intellectual and practical effort” to create a better world for everyone.

But it can be challenging to maintain momentum in the swirl of the day-to-day. Even more challenging, sometimes, is holding on to the big picture, and the real progress that we’ve made over the past year.

And we have made progress. With your support, over the past twelve months we:

  • Trained over 1,100 scientists at 32 events and piloted new programs and ways to support scientists as agents of change.

  • Created forums to bring scientists and decision makers together, including a roundtable to advance the federal dialogue on ocean aquaculture.

  • Played a foundational role in collaborative efforts to launch the SciComm Training Network.

  • Finalized and approved our new comprehensive vision, mission, values and big audacious goal for the next 10 years, clearly articulating why we do what we do, and how we do it.

  • Released a freely available Spanish translation of the Message Box Workbook, Libro de La Caja de Mensaje.

  • Initiated an ongoing, organizational-wide assessment to identify where we are and where we want to be in our work to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

  • Crafted policies to ensure that our events are safe spaces where everyone can bring their whole selves to the experience.

In 2019, we looked deep inside to find and refine the core of COMPASS—our comprehensive vision for the next 20 years, and our commitment to living our values. In 2020, we’ll begin working in earnest to share that vision and make it tangible in the world.

Relationships and connections are at the heart of what we do, and we deeply appreciate your partnership. We are honored to be doing this ‘fascinating and lovely’ work with you, and so appreciative not just of the work that you do, but the humanity you bring to it, and what you each contribute to our collective COMPASS experience. We couldn’t do this work without you, and we hope we can count on your support. Please consider donating here.

Thank you all, and we hope you have a very happy and restorative close to 2019!

With gratitude,


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