Here we are at the end of the most challenging year in memory. Like many of you, we started out full of optimism and guided by bold plans – ah, plans – but pivoted quickly to address the immediate and longer-term impacts of a global pandemic and racial reckoning in our region.
These events will be defining experiences of our lifetimes. They raised our consciousness about societal inequities and health disparities and demanded collective action. They also reminded us of the gift of community – our sense of connection, shared humanity and responsibility to each other.
Community foundations are well-equipped for times like these. With staff expertise, endowment resources and an extensive network of relationships, we can quickly mobilize resources to do the most good for the most people. We continued to work closely with donors and volunteers to facilitate their own giving, while also launching the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund and the Amandla Fund for Social and Racial Justice in partnership with peer leaders. Even beyond the additional dollars raised through these efforts, the process produced longer-term benefits for the region as well:
- A standing partnership with Plan RVA and the Emergency Management Alliance to activate the region’s coordinated disaster response fund and advisory committee as needed;
- New partnerships between nonprofits and local jurisdictions that facilitate efficient distribution of goods and services to community members in need;
- Investments in school technology, food bank infrastructure and telehealth platforms that will be used for years to come;
- A permanent endowment that invites Black philanthropists and their allies to contribute to efforts that empower Black communities and promote racial justice on a local scale.
While our collective work continues beyond the flip of the calendar, my greatest takeaway from 2020 is deep gratitude for all those who stepped up and stepped in, to place Greater Richmond on the path to recovery and resilience. We will continue to work closely with our nonprofit, business and government partners to coordinate efforts and we promise to keep you informed along the way.
With best wishes for a safe and happy new year,
Sherrie Armstrong, President & CEO