Neighborhood leaders, coworkers, and friends gathered the evening of June 28 to say farewell to Southeast Uplift Executive Director Anne Dufay, the most recent Director for the nonprofit Neighborhood Coalition, which works with neighborhood associations throughout Inner Southeast Portland.
A potluck dinner in the parking lot was followed by a brief program honoring Dufay for her years of service.
Retiring Southeast Uplift Board Chair Robert McCullough led off the program, saying, "The last few years of working with this 'wonder woman' has been a real pleasure. She works with aplomb, efficiency – and she gets along with everyone.
"I hereby make a toast to our esteemed parting Executive Director, and soon to be farmer, Anne Dufay," McCullough said, raising a glass of wine.
Molly Mayo, the coalition's new Executive Director, publicly thanked Dufay, "For all the wisdom and the guidance that you've offered me as I come into this position. I very, very much appreciate that.
"This is aside from logistics and knowledge, and so many intricacies that you shared with me and I really value that," Mayo said, calling for another toast.
After lowering the microphone, Dufay responded, "None of us does it alone, it really does 'take a village' – the work I've accomplished is really the 'sum of all of us'."
Having spent eight years at Southeast Uplift, Dufay said that she's been "immersed in neighborhood stuff and the system. I've loved it, and I wish you so well.
"From now on I'll be like a tourist," Dufay went on. "I ask you to treat Molly well, and give her is much support as you possibly can. It's a really good job; it's fascinating, to be able to do things that are important, to help create change, and to work with so many wonderful and interesting people."
After the speeches were made and gifts given, Dufay spoke with THE BEE about her tenure at the nonprofit.
"This job was important to me because I'm a big believer in the system. I am a believer in that the way you make change is that you empower people to drive their own change. From my perspective, giving people the tools that they need to achieve their own political power is the strongest, most likely path toward helping people out of any underrepresented situations in which they find themselves. So I believe in what we do!"
Asked what she will miss in retirement, Dufay remarked it would NOT be counting ballots, as she did in the Eastmoreland Historic District Poll. "It will be the people; that's the part of the job I love the most. I've gotten to work with so many great people."
Advice for the incoming Executive Director? "It's knowing it's not your fault," Dufay smiled. "The expectations for Director of this organization are very high. Some things you can do; others you can't. Just do your best, and your best will be good."
In closing, Dufay spoke directly to readers of THE BEE: "There a lot of people in this area that I have loved working with. Yeah. Thank you; and I will see you all around, from time to time!"