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National Parents Organization (formerly Fathers and Families)

National Parents Organization

By: Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chair of the Board

I am proud to announce our new name, National Parents Organization.

Under this new organizational name, National Parents Organization stands committed to reinforce our mandate:

1)      Our vision is gender neutral. Our name should reflect this truth. We are not a “fathers’ rights” organization because we do not seek any special rights for fathers. We are a family court reform organization. We believe in shared parenting and parental equality.

2)      Our new name will open more doors.
More legislators, media, academics, opinion leaders, foundations, corporations, government agencies, child welfare organizations and funders will now be able to hear our message of better lives for children and justice for parents and grandparents.

3)      We will achieve “brand differentiation.” There are hundreds of organizations with “fathers” in their name. Our new name will distinguish us.

4)      We will benefit from more participation by women. Millions of women support our goals.  We want more women in our membership and in our leadership.  There are still many women who incorrectly assume we are a “men’s club,” and therefore are reluctant to step forward.

What will the name change mean?

Our politics, beliefs, governance, and principles will not change, only our name.

Who decided to make this change?

A year ago, our Board of Directors moved to explore a possible new name. We formed a committee that included me, other Board members, National Executive Director Rita Fuerst Adams, creative writers and wordsmiths, internet gurus, lawyers, marketing and branding professionals, and consultants who manage organizational change. All of this wonderful talent came to us through the donated time and effort of our membership. This group came up with hundreds of names, and then narrowed the list down to four. They presented these names to the Board, which then requested more options, to ensure that we were absolutely on target.   At the next Board meeting, “National Parents Organization” was approved.

More Details about Process

Our Naming Committee invented hundreds of names using free-association over numerous sessions. These were quickly whittled down to several dozen leading contenders. Each name was checked to see if it was already trademarked; to see if its online domain name was already taken; to see what comes up if you google it; and to see whether its acronym was satisfactory. We then sorted the candidate names into several baskets: Warm and Fuzzy (eg, “Holding Our Children’s Hands”); Evocative or Poetic (eg, “Wings for Children”); Action-Oriented (eg, “Stand Up for Children”); Mission-Descriptive (eg, “EquiParenting Advocates”); Gravitas, Size, or Heft (eg, “National Parents Organization”).

We quickly learned that there is no perfect name. A name that twangs the heart strings may sound whimsical or unserious; a name that describes the mission may lock us into a narrow range of policy options; and one that is action-oriented might inhibit potential joiners, many of whom want to browse and reflect before committing to action.

We know that “National Parents Organization” will disappoint some people—after all, we had many differences of opinion on the Naming Committee and the Board. We even know what many of the criticisms will be. But the Board of Directors and the Naming Committee are all fully convinced that this change will advance our mission.

As the original author of “Fathers and Families,” I more than anyone should be devoted to the old name. But I am delighted with our new name. It will lead us where we need to go. It will further invigorate our efforts. It will open new doors. It will draw in new members and supporters. It will attract more support from women. It conveys gravity of purpose. It allows us to broadcast rather than narrow-cast. It conveys size and importance, distinguishing us from hundreds of “living-room organizations.”

I hope you will join with me in embracing our new name and telling the world our vision of a better life for children, justice for parents, and a stronger America.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Ned Holstein, MD, MS

Founder and Chair of the Board

National Parents Organization

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