Earlier this month, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed in the United States.

His granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, laid a wreath at her grandfather’s tomb.

Yolanda King says she knows her family history and wants to use it to forward her grandfather’s mission.

NBC News correspondent Rehema Ellis asked Yolanda if she wanted to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps.

Yolanda said, yes, she wanted to keep the legacy alive. Then she added, “But I wanna make my own footsteps.”

Martin Luther King Jr. will forever be remembered. His actions during the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s helped to advance the efforts of equal rights throughout the United States. Now, more than 50 years since his death, his legacy continues to make an impact on people like his granddaughter and me.

Yolanda King’s comment above resonates with me as I consider my service to the Foundation. I want to see TIRF make its “own footsteps,” especially now that we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Foundation’s beginning.

The leaders who established TIRF all those years ago had a particular vision of a stable nonprofit organization built on a multimillion-dollar endowment. That vision has not been realized over the past twenty years, so while we – the current Board of Trustees – are working toward achieving that dream, we realize that we must make our own footsteps to accomplish our financial goals.

As a result of the generous support of TIRF’s individual supporters and corporate partners, we finished 2018 on a high note. The deficit we projected at the beginning of last year was reduced significantly by the end of the year. In addition, for the first time in quite a few years, TIRF’s Board of Trustees approved a budget at the end of December that projected a small surplus for 2019. Of course, quite a few ambitious plans must be realized in order for that potential surplus to become a reality, but we feel that we have taken a first step on a new path for the Foundation.

Though it may be a number of years before the Foundation is in a financial position to establish and add to an endowment, it is my goal to keep alive our founders’ dream. But the footsteps we make  in working toward that dream will certainly be our own.

Best wishes,