Dear Foundation Friends,
Traffic is back. I blinked a couple of times when I turned onto the highway, joining a line of cars headed towards town. There are signs across the valley that our doors are opening, and traffic has always been our indicator for an oncoming summer season.
I admit that a part of me looks forward to re-emerging, and our community moving towards fresh opportunities for the future. Another part of me is fearful of viral resurgence, and concerned for the integration of community and visitors. I know we will welcome the coming changes, and work together to keep each other safe and healthy.
Our Response Fund grants this week are assisting community members as they navigate this next stage.
This week, we heard from Rich Ochs, Coordinator, Teton County Emergency Management. “In the Emergency Management profession, there is this concept known as ‘whole community.’ It means that government alone cannot solve problems brought about by disasters. This couldn’t be more true for the current COVID crisis. Whether it is funding contact tracers for the Health Department, buying protective equipment for front line workers, or being the organization entrusted to the generous monetary donations made towards defeating COVID, the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole has been a stalwart partner in disaster response and recovery, and will continue to be into the foreseeable future as the need is not going away.”
- Sometimes traditional communication channels like email and the newspaper don’t reach all of our community members. We funded a grant to Children’s Learning Center to enable Community Mobilizers to share COVID-19 information and available community resources, such as food and healthcare, with Latino and Eastern European families. Each Community Mobilizer sends out 3 bilingual messages weekly to groups of 25+ people. Since this grant was funded, there is an increase in clients who are picking up free church dinners, and Teton County Health Department has received additional community outreaches.
- There are 22 arts and education organizations housed in the Center for the Arts. The Response Fund provided a challenge grant to the Center Residents, which significantly offsets each of their budgets. This grant has inspired collaboration among the organizations and a road map for the future. One grant will help keep 22 doors open.
- Doors are opening and we need protective gear. The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, working with Colby Cox of Roadhouse Brewing, was planning to bulk order protective supplies for businesses, to help with safe re-openings. Nonprofit organizations have also been seeking these supplies. Colby knew how to obtain the necessary supplies, and we were able to provide the financial assistance for the increased order that would serve both needs. A grant from the Response Fund underwrote the full order so that local nonprofits and businesses will have 3-ply masks and thermometers. This is the kind of whole community assistance that will keep our valley safe as our town re-opens.
We are glowing from Rich’s compliment, but it is you who have made these grants possible. If you, or someone you know, would like to donate to the Community Emergency Response Fund, we will continue to apply gifts where they are needed most.
Drive safely and mask up. Summer is coming.
President, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole