A year ago we welcomed 2021 with open arms. Realistically, we knew all the challenges of 2020 wouldn’t instantly disappear. However, there was a glimmer of hope that with the turning of the calendar, the uncertainties would be in the shadows of new light. Our year-end efforts were summarized with the phrase “Give. Recover. Thrive.” As we entered 2021, we transitioned to the recovery phase. With the generosity of so many, we set out to make a difference. Like a formal rehab program, we started with the serenity prayer and baby steps. Little by little the progress added up, and as we look back on the last 365 days, we may not be living the serene life we imagined, but the gained wisdom and newfound courage is leading us in this complex process.

What did we learn that we were able to apply in this state of recovery? Normal wouldn’t look like it used to, but that isn’t all bad. Internally in our office we became much more effective and efficient. We determined what meetings should continue to be done via Zoom based on the content, what meetings should be in person and that a hybrid option is possible. As a team we recognized that some of our individual tasks were completed at a higher caliber when not in the office while others were better handled in the office. We were also reminded that at the core of our work is the concept of “forever”, which is at times daunting, but overall exciting.

As organizations sought to return to the new normal, plenty of challenges presented themselves, but, for the most part, there existed the strength to overcome. Nonprofits that were forced to pause in 2020 because of the pandemic used the down time to reevaluate and reentered with new, more meaningful ways to carry out their mission. Others are still paused and may or may not continue. Partnerships were born as human resources were limited. Through purposeful grants, the OCF was able to invest nearly $300,000 in a variety of programs ranging from temporary comfort to get through the darkest days to long term solutions providing brighter futures.

Through it all, our supportive board of directors remained engaged and, in fact, rose to a higher level of governance. We had robust discussions, divided votes, permission to try, and understanding, patience and at times forgiveness when something we tried didn’t go as planned. So often we highlight the grants, and the funds, because who really wants to hear the details of a governance or investment meeting? Yet the outcome of these meetings continues our commitment to philanthropic excellence and supports the systems that drive the success of the organization that ultimately makes recovery possible.

Recovery from the challenges caused by a global pandemic isn’t a 40 day or 365 day program and, in fact, we can’t tell you how long we will be in this phase. As your Community Foundation, we do believe that recovery is a season and all that we are learning is going to get us to the next season, which is thriving. We are grateful for each of you as you continue to be part of our good work. Here’s to 2022!

With gratitude,