I believe that we should all always strive to treat people with grace and gratitude. A smile or a small pause to acknowledge someone matters. At the very least, to me.

Alnisa Allgood, Founder & Executive Director, Collaboration For Good

My mother taught me from a very young age that “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). I really take that to heart because I am so grateful for all I have been blessed with in my life. I’ve learned that it only takes seconds for your entire life to change, and you may be the one that needs support. Daily, I see people in this community give of themselves to make a difference and it drives me to want to do more.

Angela R. Davis, Director of Grantmaking, Madison Community Foundation

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” This is one of my favorite quotes and represents what giving thanks means to me. To me, gratitude is an action. I am fortunate to have a voice and platform that enables me to take action: defending, supporting, and uplifting others. 

Dr. Christina Outlay, Executive Director, Maydm

In my world, collaboration is essential and critical to getting things done. So when I think about gratitude or giving thanks, I think about not one person, but the power of collectivity. I get super excited when I see a goal is accomplished because everyone chipped in or played a part and even more so when my part is to  spark the action, play a supporting role by connecting people, resources or helping to tell the story. I have respect for those who come in by themselves and do a heavy lift, but I have even more admiration for those who realize they can’t do anything alone and who thank those who do the actual work.

Hedi Rudd, Deputy Director of South Madison Programs, Rooted & Director of Badger Rock Neighborhood Center

Giving Thanks means acknowledgement. For me in my profession I give thanks to all the Black trailblazers in ballet that came before me, Janet Collins, Raven Wilkinson, Louis Johnson, Arthur Mitchell and many others. If it had not been for these courageous artist tremendous risk and selfless contributions to the art form I would probably not be in the position I hold today as Artistic and Executive Director of Madison Ballet. To them and all the others I constantly say THANK YOU!

Ja’ Malik, Artistic and Executive Director, Madison Ballet

Gratitude to me is being thankful for life, my family, and the good friends that are around me. I am grateful that I have the ability to make good things happen for others who need a helping hand and watch a smile on their face as they navigate through life. I try to show gratitude by utilizing resources that come our way and giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of other people who need us the most.

Michael Johnson, MBA, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County

For me, gratitude means taking intentional pauses from my busy schedule to reflect on my life’s purpose, recognize all that I have been given no matter how small, and give thanks for God’s goodness and graciousness.

Roxie Hentz, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director, CEOs Of Tomorrow

Gratitude goes hand in hand with giving back to our community. The youth are our future, and their potential is invaluable. Let’s stay optimistic, persistent, and dedicated to serving our community. And a big thanks to Ms. Milele for her enduring spirit!

Will Green, Founder/CEO, Mentoring Positives, Inc

Psalms 136:1 “Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.” What does Thanksgiving mean to me? Thanksgiving is a time of rest, reflection, and rejoicing in God’s goodness. The attributes of God bring me great reasons to be thankful and full of gratitude. I’m thankful for family, friends, health, and service to others. Remember, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks!

Rev. David Smith

To me, thanksgiving means having an attitude of gratitude. It’s appreciating what you have even if it is not what you desire to have at that moment. Being thankful means you are grateful for life, health, strength, and all that you have. Being thankful requires intentionality because we can forget how blessed we are until we see someone less fortunate than us. So, I will be intentional in saying thank you to God every day and to those who do anything for me. Develop an attitude of gratitude that allows you to consistently say thank you. 

Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.” What Thanksgiving means to me is making sure that I give thanks for all things. It is easy to say thank you Lord when things are going well. Thanksgiving is a time that reminds us that we should be thankful. Thankful for our families; thankful for life; thankful for everything that’s going on around us; and thankful for things that we normally overlook. This is a season that can bring sadness because holidays are a time for families to come together and love on one another and some may not have families that they can do this with. Thanksgiving reminds me to say thank you regardless of any situation and regardless of whatever is happening in life. Thanksgiving is incredibly special to me, and I just say thank you Lord for your goodness and your mercy toward us.

Apostle Brenda Carroll Lofton

When I think of Thanksgiving I think of love, kindness, generosity, and respect. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection of the many blessings that God has bestowed upon all of us. Thanksgiving is not just a tradition, it’s an expression of gratitude. To me, gratitude is the quality of being thankful for something. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bishop Dr. Godfrey A. Stubbs, End Time Ministries International

Thanksgiving is the time for reflection, and gratitude for me. Reflection because the word thanksgiving reminds me to think back, and filter through the memories of all the amazing people that God placed in my path. Personalities, both good and not so good, that He used to help shape, mold, mentor and yes, even tolerate me during life’s journey. Gratitude because, the common messaging in those voices reminds me that, an abundant life is not about treasure “it’s about perspective” the biggest room in our home should not be the living room, or the dining room, but more-so the room to improve. Gratitude and thanksgiving improves everything. 

Apostle James E. Monroe lll