Year in Review 2008

The year 2008 was a doozie. The world flipped upside down as recession slogged around the world and the markets tumbled. The identification of the mortgage crisis was delayed. We just realized what happened when we should have been preparing for another wave of foreclosures. The banks were bailed out. Homeowners are still being shunned.

Detroit faced its biggest challenges since the riots. It is in deficit and still shows the scars left behind the mayoral scandal. Other scandals are still sprouting. People lost their jobs and and pensions. Their portfolios took a beating. Unemployment engulfed Michigan and predictions are dire for next year's numbers. People have moved out of the state.

These struggles are damaging to the state, but they have caught the attention of many foundations nationwide. And foundation dollars work. A study said the $42.9-billion awarded in 2007 produced $367.9-billion in “direct, economic welfare benefits.” Read more about this study and the numbers at "Foundations Create Large Economic Benefit, Study Says." Foundation giving has been strong in the Midwest. This interactive map tracks how foundations have responded to the economic crisis.

It wasn't all bad, 2008. The United States has a new leader who hasn't even stepped into office yet and has made a difference. Ideas have been spawned, but which will be pursued? How will this place we call the United States be well again? I suppose we'll start seeing some things rolling into action after January 20.

On the personal front, this last year was both tremendous and terrible. I work full-time at Wayne State University where I love my work. I've complete my degrees and certifications for a while and look forward to a nice, long break from school. I have discovered philanthropy and have been most intrigued by it. I have reconnected with old friends and business partners and made new sets of both. I have tried to improve my health by quitting smoking and exercising more. This year I rode 425 miles on my bike. My goal is a 1,000 miles a year, so I'll start again in 2009. I quit smoking, although I take a puff here or there. I'm looking forward to the smoking ban to eventually pass in Michigan (I hope).

The year ended on a dark note. I lost a great friend and mentor to breast cancer. She was only 36. It gave me a new direction for 2009. I'm going to join the Race for the Cure team at Southfield Public Library.

I'm not sure what else is in store for this upcoming year. I see challenges ahead, but I also have a lot of hope. I want to really start writing more and maybe get a business off the ground. I want to start giving more and getting back into volunteering. It's also about time to establish a homebase of my own. I'm also going to partake in the fire sale on Wall Street. I heard on NPR that when stocks go on sale, nobody runs to grab the deals. I'm going to grab the deals and do my damndest to make smart financial decisions. I'd also like to try and read more. A lot more.

What will be changing in your new year? What won't?


Sarah said...

Eva - I'm so sorry to hear about your friend J. I had no idea she passed away. I read her blog from time to time and felt inspired by her strenth and positive outlook on life. I'm truly saddened by this news. :(

I hope to also join Southfield's Relat Team. Please keep me in the loop as I do not work at SPL all that often.

Eva G. said...

You know, with all the bad things that happened around me in 2008, I totally forgot one of the GREATEST things: the Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup!