The past year brought unique challenges, changes, and opportunities – and Six Rivers DRC rose to the occasion. 2020 asked a lot of all of us, and we are so proud of our volunteers and staff who met every challenge with creativity and resilient hope, knowing our community needed us more than ever. Staff transitioned all services to virtual platforms, including mediations, trainings, and school-based restorative practices. Thanks to deepened relationships with community partners, we received additional grant funding to expand programming to marginalized communities.
Our team has been mindful for the past two years that changes would be on the horizon as the organization prepares to move into a more equitable and just future. We have been collaborating, cross-training and cultivating a new leadership model in preparation for the inevitable retirement of our founder and friend, Marti Dane.
Marti founded and built Six Rivers DRC from the ground up! The conflict resolution programs and practitioners throughout the Gorge – and across the country – owe Marti a debt of gratitude. Her creativity, passion for peace, and dedication to mentoring mediators has changed countless lives. After 20 years of selfless service, Marti Dane is stepping away from her role as Six Rivers DRC Executive Director and into new adventures. We are pained to lose her and grateful for the foundation Marti built and the wisdom she will continue to bestow as a valued advisor.
At Six Rivers we love our fabulous volunteer mediators, and they love our founder Marti Dane. Here’s what they have to say . . .
Grace, gratitude, and goodbye from Marti Kantola Dane
Founding Director, Advisor
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Tubman
Launching, leading and now leaving Six Rivers Dispute Resolution Center has all been a dream come true. The coalescing of the right people have made this transition not only possible but invigorating for all. Six Rivers has an engaged and energized board of Directors, strong and diverse programs and the most capable and uniquely qualified staff I could imagine. So, after two amazing decades, it is with anticipation and an intrepid spirit that I once again reach for a new dream amongst the stars.
I’ve been humbled, honored and indeed privileged to learn and grow in this extremely supportive community. In 2001, mediation was broadly described as sitting in a comfortable position, silently contemplating existence. In 2021, Mediation is recognized as an essential dialogue. I’d like to think I had something to do with that transformation, it was my life’s mission to provide a healthy way for people to address conflict. But, Six Rivers Dispute Resolution Center simply needed to exist and I was the one to build it. I’m grateful for the hundreds of mediators we’ve trained, the supporters throughout the Pacific Northwest, and indeed across the country, the generosity of grantors who invest in this promise of peace and the brave souls who step up to work things out together. As an independent non-profit, Six Rivers enters its 20th year supported by small communities, individual donors and Federal grants.
Personally, this has been a journey of self-discovery and I’ve been the recipient of a humbling generosity of trust. I’ve been welcomed into Executive Board Meetings and private homes, led national conferences and startup strategy sessions, bolstered confidence and held space for tears. Having listened to countless stories, provided space for thousands of mediated discussions and mentored hundreds of new peacemakers. It’s been a fabulous journey that I am proud to have embarked upon. I am grateful to all of you. For trusting the dream. For respecting the mission. For courageously communicating the substantial challenges that must be addressed.
It has been an active year for Six Rivers in the abundance of conflict and the ever-growing need for human kindness. Our volunteers, staff and Board of Directors have never shined so bright! I am looking forward to focusing on my family, spending time with loved ones, mountain biking, skiing and perhaps pottery. I’ll still be in the gorge, listening and looking for the next path on this exciting journey. Trust respectful communication and go forth with the courage to truly listen.
Marti Kantola Dane