In the spirit of this holiday season, we’re holding on tightly to the many bright spots that made this year so special.

Despite challenges, 2021 both personally and professionally was filled with many big and small moments of joy – from celebrating our colleagues’ weddings and welcoming teammates’ babies, to spending time in nature and safely hugging friends and family again.

Other moments of joy came from witnessing our partners’ work and hearing what they shared: inspiring stories of resilience, courage and community among parents, teachers, leaders and learners.

Take Lilian Oyunga, a teacher at Dr. Stanko Academy in Nairobi, for example, who shared with us: “I love teaching, it brings me joy.” During the pandemic, our partner Dignitas has supported teachers like Lilian within Kenyan informal settlements adapt to government mandated school closures, so that they could continue to teach.

In Brazil, Fernanda Lopes, who runs programs for Fundo Baobá and helped community organizations with emergency funds to support and reach children and families, shared how their work is helping “people see that it is possible to transform realities.”

And in the United States, we found joy watching Amy Jo Hutchison from Rattle the Windows in West Virginia, a grantee through our partner Raising Child Care Fund, speak on The Problem with Jon Stewart to amplify the need for affordable child care and seeing Generation Hope’s Nicole Lynn Lewis’ memoir, Pregnant Girl listed as a “2021 Books We Love” on NPR.

These incredible stories remind us how grateful we are to get to work together and co-create a future where all learners, communities and families can thrive.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. We wish you many moments of joy this holiday season and all our best for the new year.