|Dear Foundation Friends,
This has been a shocking week, one with actions that violently ignored civility and the rules we have in place to safeguard humanity. For those of you mending your hearts right now, I’m not going to name everything that is happening. I just want you to know that we are here for you.
I would like to repeat what I said in my post to you in December.
We are going to the broken places so we can build something new.
We can meet at the places where we are experiencing the most disparity. This is where we shake hands and go to work. We are united in making this place, and this community, into a model of graceful forward motion. So let’s talk about some of the factors that can define a fresh future for Teton County. Every day, I hear about the need to preserve our community character and culture. Affordable housing, and funding to support social services as a safety net for our locals are also top priorities. Our community wants plentiful childcare and access to education, as well as places for locals to get food and have safe shelter. Currently, access to mental and physical healthcare is an essential need. And 2020 has underscored our desire for diverse voices at every table.
These are not revolutionary ideals but they offer vast possibilities for innovation. The Foundation is using the listening sessions we held in the fall to assemble a plan by springtime. We will need your help. In the meantime, the Foundation is providing support through our Community Emergency Response Fund. I have two stories for you this week.
We pass along our knowledge and build bridges by telling each other stories. Teton Literacy Center is teaming up with Head Start youth from Children’s Learning Center to create stories about what’s happening in the world right now. Through stories, children who access English as a second language can develop vocabulary to talk about their feelings. Teton Literacy will also work with their families to make sure there are cooling off spaces for children experiencing high emotional stress at home. This program will serve 65 children across our community, providing a vulnerable population with access to new educational tools.
Behind the scenes, the Senior Center of Jackson Hole has been providing free meals on two Fridays per month, to residents over 60. The program is called Friday Feast and the Senior Center provides curbside pickup or delivers the meals to home-bound seniors. The program has been greatly impacted by the pandemic – with additional packaging needed for safety, and a steady rise in the number of senior citizens requesting meals. Feeding our community is the most basic way we care for each other, and the Foundation was pleased to fully fund this request.
It is not easy exploring the broken places and it’s even harder when the visuals in media are so stark and constant. If we are capable of shifting our thinking from broken to building, I believe the opportunities for 2021 are infinite. I am eager to begin.
I hope you’ll dream big this year. I look forward to hearing your ideas.
President, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole