We are writing this letter in May, 2020. The offices of The Community Foundation have been closed for more than two months, and 2019 seems like another decade, not just last year. We were able to quickly transition our operations to remote mode, and our days are filled with constant communication with fundholders, members of the nonprofit community, our partners in Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, our philanthropic contemporaries here and around the country, city leaders, our trustees and many others. At the heart of every conversation is how to help our neighbors, colleagues and community survive, and eventually be restored.
There is so much we don’t know.
But what we do know is this: all the work represented in this 2019 Report to the Community, as well as in the 54 years prior to that, equipped us for the work we are doing today.
Community foundations are truly philanthropy’s “frontline” in a crisis.
There are many highlights from 2019 to celebrate. As you review how we worked alongside donors to mobilize their generosity, the ways we supported stability and helped build capacity in nonprofit organizations, and tackled intransigent issues like affordable housing and food insecurity with our philanthropic parners, you will see that our learning never stops. And now, when confronted by the greatest challenge in our community’s history, the knowledge gained through daily execution of our mission has positioned us to help lead the way to recovery.
Like you, we have been heartened by the numerous acts of kindness, generosity and empathy that have touched every corner of our community throughout the pandemic. They provide us hope, promise and even guidance for a brighter future. As we usher in the era of recovery, we invite you to learn alongside us as we navigate how to best support our community through the challenges and opportunities ahead. By opening a fund, you have already demonstrated your belief in Giving Back, Giving Forward and the power of philanthropy. It is going to take all of us – pulling together – to help light the way ahead and ensure it is even brighter than our past. The Community Foundation trustees and staff welcome your involvement.
In closing, we suspect you each miss the connectedness that your philanthropy offers. Rest assured, even though you many not be gathering, meeting, communicating or celebrating as frequently as you once did, your gifts bind you even closer to the organizations and communities you love so dearly. Thank you for your trust in The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and connection to us.
With gratitude and continued wishes for your wellbeing,
Nina M. Waters, President
Ryan A. Schwartz, Chairman of the Board (2019)