We are excited to usher in 2021 here at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. As we turn this page, we continue to push forward—recalibrating as needed to respond to conditions—to do the important work that exists in our community.
We spent much of 2020 attracting donor gifts and then helping distribute them in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—with more than $5 million directed to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund by Labor Day, followed by an end-of-the-year $1.25 million push to reimburse nonprofits for their COVID-related costs through our Respond/Adapt/Recover Fund. Beyond COVID-19 pandemic relief, we partnered with our donors to support the area nonprofits they care about, and we accelerated our leadership in important civic pursuits.
This past June, we pledged to listen, learn and then act to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization and community. To that end, we recently completed an internal diversity, equity and inclusion assessment that will inform our strategic planning process in 2021. Further, we are convening groups and meeting with individuals to listen, learn and develop actionable strategies. We have been inspired by 904WARD since its grass roots creation five years ago, and this year we were able to secure three years of funding from a group of generous donors so 904WARD could hire a professional staff and begin implementing their newly developed strategic plan. We are also exploring additional roles that the Foundation can play as we listen and learn from others.
As always, stimulating philanthropy to build a better community remains our goal.
This month, we are celebrating a tangible result of that goal with an exhibit at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens highlighting 30 years of our Art Ventures initiative. Thanks to generous donors who answered the National Endowment for the Arts call to invest in individual artists and small arts organizations, Art Ventures was established as an endowed fund at The Community Foundation. More than 200 artists and nearly 100 small arts organizations have benefited from more than $1.4 million since it began, and selected works from 30 of those individual artists are featured in the 30th Anniversary Art Ventures exhibit, which runs through February 21, 2021. For a special treat, plan your Cummer Museum visit for a Friday evening, when various Art Ventures performing artists will add to your enjoyment. Want to know more about Art Ventures? Here’s 30 years in a little over three minutes.
We believe philanthropy will be even more critical in 2021, and we look forward to working with everyone to support our nonprofit community so that Northeast Florida is a better place to live for all of us. For now, we wish you good health and happiness in the new year.