This is a big year for All-Options – it’s our 15th anniversary! As I started to reflect on our path over the years, I realized that I’m also celebrating two major milestones – my 5th year as the Executive Director, and a decade of leadership since I took the baton as Board President from our founder, Grayson Dempsey. What an incredible journey it’s been.
When I was first invited by Grayson to join the Board of what was then Backline, it was an intense time. The organization was about to turn five and was overwhelmed with demand for our innovative Talkline — the first and only to support people in all their experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption. Facing a leadership transition and a serious cash flow crisis, the board had made the difficult decision to suspend the Talkline while figuring out how to move forward sustainably.
I was already a huge fan and supporter of Backline, and as the executive director of other small grassroots organizations, I’d faced my share of similar struggles. I agreed to become board president to help the group navigate this crossroads, and of course, we approached it from an all-options perspective — examining every possibility, from merging to closing to radically changing our programs. Ultimately, we rallied all our energy to fight, and with the help and generosity of loyal donors and allies like you, we reopened the Talkline on July 1, 2010.
This was the first of many crossroads, and many amazing accomplishments, for this special organization. Here are just a few of the moments from the past 15 years that make me most proud:
- We’ve grown from our roots as a community-based group in Portland to a national organization, with a distributed team of board, staff, and volunteers that truly reflect the diversity of our clients and communities in geography, race, age, and gender identity.
- In 2015, we opened the nation’s first All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, Indiana, bringing our inclusive approach to a brick-and-mortar space where we provide diapers, abortion funding, and compassionate support for all options — all under one roof!
- The success and resonance of the Center and our “all-options” frame led us to change the organization’s name to All-Options in 2017, uniting all of our programs under one identity that truly represents what we’re about — the belief that while pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption can be complex, one thing is certain: Everyone deserves all options!
- We’ve strengthened and expanded our national programs, launching new virtual trainings for the All-Options Talkline, Pregnancy Options Workshops, and Faith Aloud this year! Going virtual has already helped us engage more people, increase our capacity, and bring judgment-free support to communities all across the country.
I am so proud of this organization and the fact that 15 years later, not only are we still here, but we continue to grow and evolve, while staying true to our values and our founding vision. Together we are building a more compassionate and just world, where everyone can find the support and resources they need to make the reproductive decisions that are right for them. Thank you for being part of the All-Options community!
J. Parker Dockray, MSW
Want to make a donation in honor of Parker’s leadership? Make your tribute gift here!