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Dear Foundation Friends,
 
2020. I did a little research on the words most used to describe this year, and dictionaries and columnists cited: online, unprecedented, coronavirus, essential, remote, superspreader, alone, unstable, distancing, lockdown and reopen. I liked the social media one-word captures: unverified, why, and ouch.

We will talk about this year for a long time. Amid the adversity we have faced, we’ve also witnessed acts of kindness that defy words. For our community, I would say the word is extraordinary.

We are stopping to admire the generosity of our community.
 
Many of you have put your time, energy, and resources into our community through the Community Emergency Response Fund, providing support that has reinforced essential services, created new partnerships to solve local challenges, and encouraged amazing outcomes.

Since March, the Response Fund has supported nearly every sector of our community through our nonprofit partners, distributing over $3 million in grants. Funding has provided for:
  • feeding our community members
  • meals and grocery delivery
  • safe housing for those experiencing domestic violence and for seasonal workers 
  • additional nurses, and training to help with public health
  • mental health and mindfulness apps, programs, and messaging
  • protective equipment including masks, thermometers, respirators, oximeters
  • equipment for safe classroom openings and video cameras for online learning
  • rent assistance for arts and culture organizations
  • community mobilizers and Spanish radio programming
  • childcare
  • deep cleaning and sanitization for quarantine rooms, youth rooms, classrooms
  • delivery services for senior citizens  
  • assistance with at-home learning for youth and parents
  • a safe place with activities for our youth to go for out-of-school hours
  • 1000 free flu shots
  • a day of free, community-wide COVID-19 testing
  • subsidized insulin
  • hot showers for those living in their cars
  • assistance with veterinarian payments and food through a pet fund
  • financial help for those who have lost their jobs 
We are showing the world what giving from the heart looks like.
 
Old Bill’s Fun Run 2020 turned into a masterpiece of reimagining. Creativity took first place in this race, as nonprofit partners costumed up, and locals (and duckies) raced for charities. The event raised an astonishing $15.3 million from 4,349 donors. Every single one of you is a winner.
 
We are going to the broken places so we can build something new.
 

Many organizations bravely made public their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statements of support and belief this year. The Community Foundation did not post a statement. As community leaders, we realized that we needed to do more work before we posted a belief statement. We needed our Board and staff to put strategy and planning in place to make change sustainable. We need to do the work before we can ask our community to join us in this endeavor. We formed a Board DEI Task Force that has been working diligently to uncover and understand our participation in current racial inequities – to look hard at our blind spots. We hired The Nova Collective to guide us.
 
We will survey our stakeholders in early January about DEI and our role, review data, and train our Board, staff, and Grants Committee members. By spring, we will have a complete DEI strategic framework to share with you. You will see changes at the Community Foundation. To make sustainable change, we are examining our attitudes, cultural patterns, perceptions, participation in existing systems, beliefs, policies and processes. The listening sessions that we held this fall are helping to inform our long-term road map. This work takes time, and we thank you for your patience. I am eager to communicate with you more deeply about these changes in the new year.
 
We want to be the community’s Foundation.
 
We are here for you in pandemic and economic crises, even as we wish for more halcyon days to come. We want to hear your straight talk and ideas, to be your go-to resource and open door. We want the Foundation’s reach to be wide and deep so that our community can thrive. You help us to be a better organization and to represent the whole community. Yes, extraordinary is the right word for this valley.
 
I wish you fresh snow and warm fireplaces. Stay healthy and safe through the holiday season, and I’ll see you in 2021.


Laurie Andrews
President, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole

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