Resiliency of community depends on us

  • Friday, October 2, 2020 1:30am
  • Opinion

In times of crisis, a strong community is key to ensuring nobody is left behind. When COVID-19 reached us on Bainbridge Island, our community took immediate action. Volunteers sewed masks to overcome the shortage of PPE, donors increased contributions to meet increased demand for essential needs and services, and emergency funds were gathered and distributed to support health and human service organizations.

Programs kicked into gear to support nutritious food programs for kids, child care for essential workers, financial assistance for housing costs, purchase of PPE for caregivers, free counseling for teenagers and adults, and more. Many of these services were only possible because of the support of the community and quick action by nonprofit leaders. Our nonprofits are keeping the community together — while they have always played a critical role, their work now is more important than ever.

Our nonprofits need us as much as we need them. According to a May 2020 survey done by the Bainbridge Community Foundation in partnership with Kitsap Community Foundation, 59 percent of organizations were planning to reopen during Phase 2. But without the ability to hold annual fundraisers or conduct programs most are expecting an average of a 45 percent decline in revenue for the year. Many nonprofits have had to furlough or lay off staff to handle the financial impact of social distancing, which is becoming the norm for the foreseeable future.

These unprecedented times have been met with unprecedented giving. More than 80 percent of the federal government’s emergency appropriations package — or over $274 billion — goes to state and local governments and communities. Some of our own local nonprofits and companies have gratefully accepted these contributions.

Bainbridge has also pulled together its resources, distributing millions of dollars in emergency funds and project grants as well as in support of unrestricted operating costs, to ensure local organizations stay afloat. Nonetheless, as the crisis extends, the need for support continues to grow.

Bainbridge Community Foundation (BCF) and One Call for All would like to encourage giving to these critical organizations. BCF has launched an awareness campaign called Bainbridge Together to help educate the community about the programs and services our nonprofits offer. By following #BainbridgeTogether on social media, or by visiting www.BainbridgeCF.org, the community can learn more details about how nonprofits have helped create and maintain the community we all rely on. BCF also awards grants to non-profits throughout the year via its annual Community and Capacity Building grants cycles, its Community Response Fund for COVID-19 relief, and through Donor Advised Fund grantmaking.

One Call for All also continues to raise funds on behalf of our island’s nonprofits. The iconic Red Envelope will be in your mailbox in October; your invitation to make contributions of any size to any number of the 130 vital nonprofits that participate. All funds are distributed to the charities, without any costs or fees to the donor or the agencies you choose to support. You can make a one-time or recurring gift by check, credit card, PayPal or gifts of appreciated assets. During the Bainbridge Together campaign, BCF is encouraging donations directly to nonprofits or through One Call for All, which can be done at www.OneCallForAll.org.

We are so thankful for the strong fabric of our community, and look forward to supporting our nonprofits during these uncertain times.

About One Call for All and Bainbridge Community Foundation: Sixty years ago, a few forward-thinking Islanders decided to combine the individual fund appeals of multiple nonprofit organizations into one annual mail drive — and One Call for All was born. Nearly 20 years ago, One Call for All’s leaders came together to develop BCF, a separate organization charged with building a permanent grantmaking pool to help meet emergent and existing needs. BCF supports our nonprofits by providing analyses of community needs, awarding grants to meet those needs, connecting donors to nonprofits and encouraging collaboration. BCF also awards grants through its Community Response Fund to support our nonprofits during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tracey Peacoe Denlinger is executive director of One Call for All and Jim Hopper is executive director of Bainbridge Community Foundation.

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