Washington, DC Skyline

I have just completed my first week as Vice President of Tides. As I prepared to take on this new role, I received warm welcomes from Tides staff, partners, clients, and others involved in the work of this amazing organization.  But far more important than the welcome I received at Tides, is the welcome that Tides has received here in Washington, DC. Members of Congress, Administration officials, and other power players in our nation’s capital responded alike in asking “What took you so long to get here?”  We’ve been here before and now we’re back with a renewed focus on working with clients, partners, and others in the progressive social change community.

Tides is known throughout the United States as a thought leader, an incubator of ideas, and a champion of social change.  We now add to that description, a facilitator of political action and advocate for progressive ideals. Working with our clients, grantees and other partners, Tides Washington, DC will become a hub for those who seek to make our country, and our world, a better place by engaging in our political process.

We will work in coalition with agencies already active in the political arena, but equally important, we will strive to empower our many partners who are not currently engaged in advocacy. No voice is more powerful than the voice of someone who is passionate about the work they are doing in their own community. Yet all too often, those voices go unheard in Washington and unheeded in our political debate.  It is time for that to change.

Tides is committed to being the megaphone that magnifies the voice of the pastor from the small church in Arizona who advocates for the rights of the immigrants that she ministers, the student organizing for economic justice in Wisconsin, and the two young men who only want the right to get married in Maryland. These are the voices of America, and they shall be heard.

I would be remiss if I did not mention one specific project, the launch of the Tides Tikkun Olam Fund to support Jewish social justice work. Tikkun Olam literally means “repair the world”. Having spent more than a dozen years working for Jewish organizations I can attest to both the incredible work being undertaken in that sector, and the lack of funding that hinders some of its best efforts.” The purpose of the fund will be to partner with and support those organizations in the Jewish community who share our values and share in our mission to make our world a better place for all its inhabitants.

It is with great hope that we open the doors to Tides’ Washington, DC office. Hope, that in doing so, we can help open Washington to the voices, faces and stories of all Americans. Thank you for joining us in this effort.

Hadar Susskind is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Tides Washington, DC Office.  He has more than a dozen years of experience working in Washington, DC on a broad range of domestic and foreign policy issues. As Vice President of Policy and Strategy at J Street he worked toward bringing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Prior to his time at J Street, Hadar was Vice President and Washington Director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) where he led the Taskforce on Equal Opportunity and Social Justice and oversaw the creation of JCPA’s anti-poverty campaign. Read more about Hadar >

Washington, DC image via Flickr user Rob Shenk, used under Creative Commons license.

Editor’s Update (10/26/11): Check out this great photo of Tides Staff Kim Sarnecki, Melissa L. Bradley, and Steven Cole-Schwartz at the 2011 Victory Fund Annual Gay & Lesbian Leadership Awards.

Tides at the Victory Fund Annual Gay & Lesbian Leadership Awards