Why Halcyon, Fall 2020

Throughout the fall, our “Why Halcyon” campaign is telling the story of how we got here, why we do this work, and where we’re going. If you're inspired by these stories, click here to make a gift to support Halcyon's work!

Week one: Haven

"H" is for "Haven"

Dear Friends,

We were so happy when the Halcyon team asked us to write about Haven as part of this year’s fall campaign, "Why Halcyon." It’s a fitting opening for the campaign because it takes us back to Halcyon’s earliest days, when we first imagined what this place could become. 

The idea came first – the idea that time and space are in short supply, but critical to birthing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. It was a beautiful coincidence that we did not have to look far for a name for an organization that would tenaciously seek to provide such precious resources. Halcyon House was perhaps destined to be this space, and preordained to lend its name to programs that today reach far beyond its walls to support innovators around the world.

While Halcyon provides Haven to those on the cutting edge of our modern world, the roots of the word extend far back in time to the Greek myth of Alcyone and Ceyx.

Alcyone and Ceyx shared a love so powerful they angered Zeus. When Ceyx set sail to visit the Oracle at Delphi, his ship met a powerful storm Ceyx could not survive. When Alcyone threw herself into the sea in anguish, Zeus took pity and turned her and Ceyx into Halcyon birds, still insisting that they make their nest in the treacherous sea. But Alcyone’s father, Aeolus the God of Wind, saw to it that each year there would be fourteen days with seas calm enough for the pair of lovers to lay their eggs safely. This time came to be known as the Halcyon Days - a period of peace, calm, and regeneration.

This was our wish for Halcyon from the very beginning, long before we knew it would grow to what it is today: to create a haven for the people who need it most, to realize incredible, world-changing ideas. For both of us, mentorship and fellowship have been essential parts of realizing our own career aspirations. We know breaking down barriers is tiring work so no one should have to do it alone. The community of people who take it on deserve Halcyon Days.

That idea remains a North Star for us to this day, guiding the evolution of an organization rooted in offering space, community, and access - three things you’ll hear more about in the weeks to come. But in the end, it all comes back to haven, and the idea of giving people space to be brilliant, with seas calm enough for their creativity to make its own waves.

All our best,
Sachiko and Kate


Week two: Access"A" is for Access

Week 3: Launchpad

L is for Launchpad

Fellow photos