Open letter to CSL community

Dearest Centre for Sustainability Leadership community,

We have some big news to announce. After 13 years of running powerful, inspiring programs, the Centre for Sustainability Leadership itself is no longer financially sustainable, and has made the very difficult decision to close.

What’s the story?

The Future Sustainability Leadership Program (the initial version of today’s Future Makers Fellowship) started in 2005. It was completely unique in combining leadership and sustainability to launch passionate people into positions of influence to work on the most pressing issues of our time.

From founder Larissa Brown’s early instigation and leadership, the organisation and its programs have had many iterations and developments - with input from a host of committed, skilled and passionate team members. Over 13 years, we have run more than 30 programs. As a measure of our success, we proudly point to a network of over 700 wonderful alumni, connected, empowered and inspired, many of them now working together to create powerful change.

Since the Centre for Sustainability Leadership started, the world has changed dramatically. We’ve experienced increased competition from other programs, and our philanthropic funding has dried up. Running a not-for-profit is never plain sailing. Despite years and years of tremendous work to keep the ship afloat, we have decided this structure no longer serves its purpose.

We’ve worked extremely hard over the years, trying lots of different solutions - new partnerships and funding sources, corporate offerings, business development roles, intensive programs, masterclasses, Australia-wide programs and more. It’s been at least six years of huge and concerted effort on that front, including a great deal of passion and pro-bono staff time. Our programs have stayed fresh and our business model has evolved, but not enough to keep up with the changing landscape.

So, about two months ago, the board and staff met and decided to formally wind up the company later this year, once the three current programs have wrapped up (November 2018). It was not a happy decision to make. But we feel comfortable it’s the right one.

What’s next for the program?

The work we’ve been doing is dear to all our hearts and as needed as ever. We want to ensure its profound and meaningful impact can go on.

That’s why we’re offering an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a group or organisation to pick up the brand, intellectual property, database and delivery team to run the fellowship program in the future. We’re doing this to make sure the program will go on if it can - and to ensure it lands in the right hands if it does.

What can you do?

This isn’t the end of this work. Just the end of the entity that was holding it. Sometimes things come to an end - and need to end in order for new things to emerge. We don’t know what the future looks like right now, but we are hopeful that empowerment and positive change might come out of this moment. It’s up to all of us to create what’s next.

You may feel sadness in letting go of what was. You may feel anger that the systems that so desperately need this program have failed to sustain it. We feel that, too. We encourage you to sit with those difficult emotions and, when you’re ready, to join us in creating the future together.

Just as the world asked you to step up and join this network in the first place, the world needs us all to step up again and meet the challenge of the moment in new ways.

We share this news with a sense of sadness and loss, but also with excitement and hope for the future.

If you or an organisation you know is interested in the Expression of Interest, please read this document and contact Kim Shore at projects@csl.org.au by the extended deadline of 6pm Friday 6th July 2018.

If you have any questions please get in touch with us via info@csl.org.au

Our deepest appreciation,

The Centre for Sustainability Leadership team and Board of Directors

Alesha, Alex, Andrew, Cam, Garrett, Helga, Jai, Jen, Jeremy, Kim, Laura, Leigh, Lina, Maree, Marie, Matt, Sandi, Sara, Sarah and Sevda.

 

 

We’re closing. What happens next is up to all of us.

CSL EOI due 6pm 6th July