When COVID-19 first hit our region, it felt like life changed overnight.
As with many office-based businesses, we knew we needed to make adjustments. We were literally barraged with messages to close the business and head home, for our safety and the safety of the community.
And that is what we did.
Before locking the office door, I contacted the City of Reno to ask if the Community Foundation was considered an essential business.
We were told emphatically that we were essential – and so the Community Foundation continued at a 100% with most staff working virtually. Like banks, childcare for health care workers, gas stations, and grocery stores, the Community Foundation serves a critical need that was, in fact, more important than usual because of the crisis. Since March 15th, we have granted out more than $6.5 million in almost 600 charitable grants and scholarships. Essential indeed!
In this video, recorded a couple of months ago, I talk about our role in helping during the pandemic crisis.
Perhaps unexpectedly, but gratefully so, charitable gifts made to the Community Foundation during the first eight months of this year are substantially up from last year.
The outpouring of support, as well as the increased grants to nonprofits, have kept our accounting and stewardship staff busy. Distribution of grants requires close communication with grantees and advisory committees. We have been zooming so much that we set up a second Community Foundation Zoom account for concurrent meetings. I am eagerly looking forward to holding our board and committee meetings and our dozens of fund advisory committee meetings, in-person as soon as it is safe. The personal face-to-face interaction with Community Foundation leaders, fundholders, grantees, and community partners has value and depth that is not matched virtually.
On a daily and sometimes hourly basis, the essential nature of our work is not about money and grants.
It is about connection. It is about food, childcare, sustaining arts organizations, safety, and hundreds of critical activities funded by donors and fundholders. I am moved by the hundreds of individuals who give with the intention and hope of helping people during times of crisis, and continuing when times are less turbulent.
Need never rests or abates, and the Community Foundation will never stop serving,
even for one day.
We are indeed meeting with new donors daily, and we are here for you, virtually or in-person (with safety measures in place), to enable and even increase philanthropy in our community. If I can be of assistance, please let me know. The calls, emails, referrals, and occasional walk-in donors are the beating heart of the Community Foundation. You make everything we do possible. Thank you.
Chris Askin, President and CEO
Connecting people who care with causes that matter