Whether I'm in a school, at the farmers market or I've just read the morning paper, each day brings with it many contrasts. When I begin to add them up, they seem to take on a life of their own with looming implications that go in very different directions. Take for example, the seemingly unlimited resources in this country: huge farms, surely enough food; great wealth - why 46 million poor? As we narrow the focus to some of the initiatives we work on within the foundation, the contrasts become even starker. Education funds continue to be cut while more is required, testing is rampant, teachers are striking, and students are dropping out at higher rates? We stand by watching helplessly as the healthcare system goes broke spending billions of dollars researching disease & technical procedures that individuals, doctors, hospitals and insurers can't afford. Couldn't we put the "care" back in healthcare and better activate our resources to include prevention, nutrition, and self-care to more evenly spread the liability and responsibility?

HumanLinks was established to set aside time to look more closely on these issues. We take a systemic approach in that we look at the whole system rather than to separate out its parts. In particular, we look at how this "whole system" transcends to the individuals it was originally intended to serve. As we go, we're finding that many of the layers of resources around us seem to fall short of full potential and we refer to this as the "disconnect".

The good news is there are a lot of thoughtful people, universities, foundations, institutes, and parts of government doing volumes of great work, many trying to reconnect the disconnects. I think it all goes back to how we do things - from a very simple level - what an individual chooses to do with a day - to how our institutions choose to prioritize resources.

As HumanLinks looks deeper into education, healthcare and agriculture, we continue to question some of the multi-faceted contrasts that got us started. What is the reality? What is the effectiveness? Whose voices are not being heard? What are the human links? It's all right here. What a place we could be!

~ Gretchen Garth