In 2004 I took a leap of faith and after 18 years left my corporate career to explore what the future might hold. That journey led me to Common Hope – and the more I learned, the more committed I became. What I found here was a collection of people who had faith in the future, regardless of the challenges or barriers that may be presented along the way. That by providing opportunities to overcome these challenges life would be better for those we serve, and unexpectedly, life was better for each of us, too. For me, our common hope is the product of a much deeper belief – one of faith. Faith in humanity; faith in the resiliency of the human spirit; and faith that Common Hope is bigger than any one of us.
Recently my good friend and colleague Pablo Cermeno asked what my favorite memory from my time at Common Hope has been. After 18 years it is impossible to limit it to one. But it is possible to say that my memories are filled with the love, compassion, friendship, and generous human spirit that we have shared over these many years – whether tragic, triumphant, deeply moving, or so hilarious it knocked us off of our chairs laughing. I believe that people enter our lives for a reason, and I am eternally grateful that each of you have entered mine as you have enriched my life beyond measure.
This Apache prayer best describes how I feel in this moment:
Looking behind I am filled with gratitude,
Looking forward I am filled with vision,
Looking upward I am filled with strength,
And looking within I discover peace.
After 18 years, it is time for me to sail away and explore, dream, and discover the next leg of my journey.
Thank you for your love for Common Hope, and for the incredible memories we have made along the way. I look forward to many more, as our family will still be part of this incredible organization, returning to where we began – as sponsors and volunteers, amazed at the incredible impact demonstrated for one child, one family, and one generation at a time.
I cannot say goodbye, because I know that I will see you all again, but simply will say ‘until next time’. Please join me in celebrating all we have accomplished together in the past 18 years, and all that is yet to come.
During her 18 years of service, Shari has had a significant and lasting impact on our families, staff, and donors at Common Hope. Her leadership has been greatly appreciated, and we are proud of her achievements. Under her guidance, a strong foundation of hope has been established with an enduring impact.
18 years of impact:
- 2005 – Shari joins CH staff as Development Director
- 2005 – New Hope School opens
- 2005 – First Common Hope Holiday Open House
- 2006 – Shari becomes Executive Director of Common Hope, Common Hope 20th Anniversary
- 2007 – Common Hope launched partnership with new community San Rafael
- 2009 – Common Hope launched Partner Schools in Guatemala and the Partner School Campaign in the U.S.
- 2010 – University of Chicago Impact Study
- 2010 – Common Hope launched partnership with new community San Miguel Milpas Altas
- 2010 – First Common Hope Golf Classic presented by AbeTech
- 2011 – Common Hope celebrates the 1000th high school graduate, Common Hope 25th Anniversary
- 2014 – Ball Court Built at Antigua Site
- 2016 – 30th Anniversary of Common Hope
- 2017 – Common Hope celebrates the 2000th high school graduate (just 6 years after the 1000th!)
- 2017 – Renewal of the University of Chicago Impact Study which showed that students partnering with Common Hope are graduating at three to four times the national average.
- 2018 – Volcán de Fuego eruption in Guatemala
- 2020+ – COVID-19 Pandemic
- 2020 – First Common Hope Walk for Hope (and it is virtual due to the pandemic!)
- 2021 – 35th Anniversary of Common Hope
- 2022 – Hurricane Agatha in Guatemala
In Shari’s Tenure
- 12 Consecutive Years of a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator
- Growth from $3.3M to $4.7M (41%) in revenue from 2006-2022
- Over 500 houses built in Guatemala
- Common Hope celebrated the 3,000th graduate
- 17 Noche de Colores Minnesota events