Minerva’s Winter Newsletter 2024

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Dear Reader,

I’ve been thinking a lot about breakdowns lately. I just turned 42, a wonderful age to be, but also squarely in “midlife.” I’m feeling my way through the crises this time can bring.

My personal grappling with middle age is happening in the context of much more serious and large-scale crises in the world. The damage done by systemic oppression and the failures of capitalism are signposts that the choices made by society’s power holders are not sustainable. We’re headed for a breakdown—if we’re not there already.

I’ve drawn comfort in my personal life from Alain de Botton’s book “School of Life: An Emotional Education” which is quoted at length in this piece on the value of breakdowns to uncover what is wrong. “We haven’t become ill; we were ill already. Our crisis, if we can get through it, is an attempt to dislodge us from a toxic status quo and constitutes an insistent call to rebuild our lives on a more authentic and sincere basis.”

In short, a breakdown can lead to a much-needed breakthrough. Getting people to see major crises as a call to action to “dislodge us from a toxic status quo” is a tall order. Yet, it is a critical challenge for all social justice communicators to take on. This helps us all expose what isn’t working and move toward a better world.

In this newsletter, we highlight ways—from work schedules to grant making—we can move from potential breakdowns to breakthroughs. I hope you enjoy it—and take heart.

All my best,

Sara Veltkamp
Partner and Vice President, Minerva Strategies

For too long, grant making has been a top-down process, with funders wielding the power to decide which organizations receive funding. There is a growing recognition that true change requires a shift in power towards those most impacted by social challenges. Read how one Minerva client changed their governance to advance climate justice.

Everyone experiences burnout. What if, instead of working ourselves to an exhausted state week after week, we prioritized rest and restoration so that we could do our work better? This is exactly what Minerva is attempting to do through our four-day workweek pilot. Check out how it’s going and how it resonates with Minerva’s Principles.

The Minerva team are big fans of communication plans. When methods and platforms for communication are changing at such a rapid pace, plans provide a north star. Communication plans are a tool for handling crises and taking full advantage of new opportunities when they arise. Read more about the value of communication plans and how to build effective ones.



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About The Author

Sara Veltkamp

Sara Veltkamp

Vice President

Sara lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and is Minerva's vice president. She takes a lead role in all aspects of Minerva Strategies’ smart communication strategies and implementation. She loves a challenge and is obsessed with learning new things, from how to use new platforms and tools for storytelling to languages like Amharic, French, or Farsi to mastering a difficult yoga pose. She applies this energy and curiosity to all clients’ communication challenges. Learn more about Sara.