Taking measure of the past year
As we approach the end of the year, it’s natural for us to look back on the past twelve months, and try to make some kind of meaning out of everything that’s happened.

2020 has been a year where we’ve had our eyes on the numbers. We’re tracking COVID case counts and monitoring the number of outbreaks in schools and nursing homes. We’ve done the math on how far the CERB can stretch. We’re keeping a tally of how many vaccine doses are coming to our communities. And we’re counting down the days, weeks or months left until we can hug our loved ones.

As we’ve looked out into the world, we’ve seen thousands of people in the streets declaring that too many lives are being lost to racial violence and inequity. We’ve taken notice of polling numbers in states that are far from home. And we’ve reckoned with the rising tide of an economic recovery that is not lifting all boats.

These numbers tell a story about the year we’ve lived through and the world we live in. It’s a story that has been populated with words like polarization, disruption and isolation. It’s been punctuated by feelings of helplessness, fear and vulnerability. It’s a story that we’re only beginning to understand, and one that will undoubtedly have a significant impact on us for generations to come.

But as we all know, there’s more than one sides to every story. At the Community Foundation, we’ve also been keeping our eyes on the numbers. We’ve been tracking stats on income, housing and wellbeing in our as the pandemic widens existing inequalities in our region. We’ve listened to local charities trying to balance decreasing revenues with increasing demand for services. And we’ve taken notice of the growing generosity of everyday philanthropists in our community.

When we add it all up at the end of the year, the number that best tells the Foundation’s story is 1.5. Why? Because in 2020, the Community Foundation granted more than $1.5 million to support the community’s most pressing needs and opportunities! This is the most significant granting that the Foundation has ever done in one year. And it’s not a surprise that this milestone has been reached during such a tough year.

This extraordinary number tells a story about the year we’ve lived through, and who we are as a community. It’s a story that contains words like resilience, solidarity and action. It’s been punctuated by feelings of courage, connection and generosity. It’s a story that we’re only beginning to understand, and one that will undoubtedly have a significant impact on our community for generations to come.

As we reach the end of the year, our reflections are filled with awe and gratitude. We are in awe at the way our community came together to respond to an emerging crisis, and we are grateful for the part that you played in that response.

So we can’t let 2020 wrap up without saying thank you.

Thank you to the everyday philanthropists who stepped up to contribute to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, the Vital Community Fund, or any of our donor-advised funds.

Thank you to the local charities who have been showing up for our community everyday, while navigating all of the challenges and uncertainty of the pandemic.

Thank you to the volunteers who have put in countless hours to keep the machine running, way beyond our usual capacity.

Thank you for making this challenging year so meaningful.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday,
Your friends at the Community Foundation