Tom Barefoot, co-founder of GNHUSA, announced on January 16th that the time had come for him to step off the Board. Tom wrote, “I’ve felt very appreciative to be a part of GNHUSA’s founding core, and to share in crafting and spreading the new messages about happiness. I have focused on GNH work since the start of 2009, and during this time felt the GNH work was one of the most important things I could be doing in my life.”
He leaves some big shoes to fill! From the earliest days, Tom was a hard and determined worker. He collaborated with GNH experts near and far, from his colleagues on the Vermont Data Collaborative to economist Ron Coleman in Nova Scotia, time use expert and author John DeGraaf in Seattle, and spiritual leader Susan Andrews in Brazil. Each of these three presented at the first Gross National Happiness conference in the United States, in Burlington, Vermont in 2010. Tom went on to help organize two more major conferences in Vermont, and to participate in a GNH conference organized by the Happiness Alliance in Seattle. He also was one of GNHUSA’s representatives to the high-level U.N. meeting on happiness in 2012. On the home front, Tom worked with Vermont legislators to pass a bill endorsing a Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) system of measuring well being in the state.
It isn’t easy starting a new organization and movement, but Tom hung in through thick and thin. Even as he leaves the board, he has generously offered his availability to help GNHUSA with a variety of projects to the best of his abilities.
Those of us on the Board are filled with gratitude and best wishes for Tom. We will miss his dedication, advocacy, quirky sense of humor, gentleness and kindness.
We believe in measuring what matters — but Tom’s contribution to GNHUSA and the GNH movement is immeasurable.
Thank you, Tom, for your labor of love — a job very well done indeed.