As someone who has benefitted from privilege, I did not earn nor deserve, I am embarrassed for myself at times. I am ashamed of the way our country has so easily accepted and even endorsed at the highest levels, discriminatory treatment of our neighbors, friends, and coworkers. I believe that our system makes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness easier for some and harder for many. Systemic, pervasive racism is a wound on the soul of America that must be healed and we have much work ahead of us. As with everyone I know, I abhor the destruction and thievery of the riots, not all driven by anger but also by greed and opportunity. I am relieved and proud that our community did not suffer much destruction and heartened by the people who volunteered to help scrub and clean up on Sunday morning.
I am also proud of the Community Foundation staff and Board. In our meeting this week, Board members discussed learning to check our biases within the Community Foundation and brought up ways the Community Foundation might help bring positive change. A special board task force was created and will begin immediate work.
I do not know what our response will be, what actions we will take, or collaborations we will join. I do know we can and must use our voice now, and that this the time to seize the opportunity to improve and transform our community, and our country.
Deanna Podstawa, Alice 96.5 AM Morning Show host, is a friend and former coworker. Deanna has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for damage to eight local downtown businesses from the riot last weekend. Please join with me in making a gift to help at https://www.gofundme.com/f/downtownreno. Her effort reflects the Nevada ethic of community and grassroots involvement – our approach of working together to solve problems.
Program Officer, Lauren Renda has compiled a list of nonprofits that are working for social justice in Nevada and the Nation. I encourage you to look through this list, click on the links, and learn about the work being done and ways you can help.
Nonprofits Working for Social Justice
The core values adopted by our Board of Trustees guide our decision-making and ensure we are intentionally serving people with diverse ideas, cultures, and backgrounds in meaningful ways. I am committed to leading the Community Foundation to do what we can now, during this critical time, to help raise the level of inclusiveness, diversity, and equity to life for all of us, and for future generations.
If you believe as I do, and want to bring change, give me a call.
The Community Foundation of Western Nevada is your community’s foundation. We strengthen the community through philanthropy and leadership by connecting people who care with causes that matter. Both leadership and philanthropy are needed at this moment to turn tragedy into the opportunity to become better people and build a stronger community.
Chris Askin, President, and CEO