Why I Didn’t Quit (Even Though I Wanted To)

Posted on January 21, 2022

Person sitting making sidewalk art

Today’s Buzz is by Kevin Teater. Kevin Teater is the executive director of the Beaverton (Oregon) Downtown Association, a candidate for Beaverton City Council, a City of Beaverton planning commissioner, and an ELGL member since 2017. Connect with Kevin on Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • What I’m Listening to – Coldplay
  • What I’m Reading – A heck ton of endorsement applications and policy documents
  • What I’m Watching ­– Madre Solo hay Dos (Daughter from nother Mother)
  • What I’m Doing – Campaigning for Beaverton City Council

Running a nonprofit is hard as heck.

Recently, a fellow downtown director asked a small group of us what made us quit these jobs. Turnover is high in Main Street programs, and most of us have a story about what made us walk away or what made us stay. Here’s mine.

I thought about quitting when one too many businesses were being bullies. I thought about quitting when my board members kept resigning before their terms were over (many with valid reasons, but it can still be discouraging). I thought about quitting when I saw how much I could be getting paid leading a different nonprofit. I thought about quitting when I struggled to get the funding I want this organization to have.

But I stayed.

I stayed because I love public art. I stayed because the immigrant business owners are so loving to me. I stayed because I helped people find the support they needed when nobody else did. I stayed because my board believes in me. I stayed because I love the challenge. I stayed because I am making a difference.

Good lord, this work is hard.

I stayed because I saw when business owners wanted to quit. I saw their breakdowns. And I saw them keep going. And so, I wanted to keep going with them.

As hard and as challenging as it is, this is why I love public service.

It’s about the community.

And I won’t quit on it.

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