2022 marked our fifth year of operation as a non-profit organization, an odds-defying milestone we don’t take for granted. A small board of committed, hard-working volunteers without extensive non-profit experience founded this organization alongside me. What distinguishes CBAW can be boiled down to one essential (and deceptively simple) practice: asking for help. We know what we do well, and we know what we don’t know.

At the end of 2021, one of our fiercest, most generous longtime supporters offered to fund a full-time Director of Programs position. I knew exactly whose help I needed: Ashy Palliparambil. She and I worked together when I was a contractor at Walter Reed and Ft Belvoir. Ashy has been a partner in growing and developing the ideas that became CBAW, and she has so many skills I don’t have. She is an incredible time manager, team builder, organizer, and connector.

Around the same time, I reached out to an engaged participant whose own posts about our EOY giving campaign were far better than my own, and asked if they would be willing to help out with social media and graphics. Rob Haney’s efforts have brought new people to our programs, maintained community between scheduled events, and updated nearly every aspect of our online presence.

Their help not only made our programs reach farther than ever before, they made it possible for our board to step back from daily tasks (many of the founding board members continue to serve) and build a plan for our future that includes bolder creative programs, research initiatives, and a return to military installations. We know that the future is hybrid: accessible, recurring online programming alongside in-person opportunities for connection. We also know that there are great ideas we haven’t had yet, things we don’t know. In the following pages, we’ll share where we are and some accomplishments we’re proud of. We hope that as you flip through, you feel compelled to reach out, strive alongside us, and help us do better.

With respect and gratitude,

Seema Reza

Seema Reza, CEO
February 2023