I have moments when I wonder if everything has changed forever - if anything will ever be the same as it was.
Then momentary doubt passes and I conclude that just as with past global horrific events, our society will change, and we will adapt, and that life as we know it will, in most ways, resemble what it was before this pandemic.
Today we are coping and adapting to immense changes in our daily life. Even though the Community Foundation staff have made adjustments to where and how we work, our key priorities of serving our fundholders, our community, and taking care of ourselves, remains clear.
I suspect one of the most significant challenges to navigating mindfully through this situation is uncertainty. When should we return to work in the office? When will kids go back to school? When will we be able to feel safe gathering in groups again? Should we reschedule events, or should we cancel them for this year? When will the market recover? When will donors have the confidence to move forward with their gift plans and establishing new funds?
Please notice I wrote “when” not “if.” I feel confident we will be gathering, educating our children, working together, investing, and, most of all, I feel sure people in our community will continue to be generous.
I am heartened because we are moving forward with courage. Community support has reinforced my belief in the essential nature of philanthropy.
I am honored by how much aid is given back given to our community through the Community Foundation funds. Gifts continue to be made, and funds established while recognizing some are on hold. We are hopeful we won’t have to cancel events for the entire year, and Staff has already made plans to look at scheduling events for August or September tentatively. It is fortunate that the Community Foundation staff can work remotely and we grateful that we have enough bandwidth on our Internet and personal transportation. I am keenly aware of those who don’t have income or these resources, some due to the COVID-19 situation, and others who lacked them before the pandemic.
The Community Foundation offers three ways to respond to regional pressing needs.
- The COVID-19 Relief Fund helps health care workers, many who work 12-14 hour days. Their stress is amplified because they are unable to fully be available for their families at home because they are tired and overloaded. Some are on the front-lines and are staying in hotel rooms to distance themselves.
- Feed Our Heroes delivers meals to health care workers at hospitals and first responders who don’t have time to shop or pick up take out during shifts.
- Village on Sage Street Rent Relief collects funds for the low wage- earning lodgers who have become unemployed as our region flattens the curve.
I accept our current situation and have set expectations that this crisis may be with us much longer than first imagined. The Community Foundation staff and board are working together and staying strong, for ourselves, for our families, and the community.
I ask you to keep in mind that we are practicing “physical” distancing, not social. Communicating and connecting is more vital than ever. Do you want to talk? Are you considering a gift or bequest? Please, give me a call.
Chris Askin, President and, CEO