Photo Caption: Hank and I are hatching up a plan!
We are all going to have to dig deep for this one.
We are also an amazing and creative community. I am doing my first ever Facebook Live at 10 am this morning (wish me luck and sign in to the OICF FB page to watch) and will be talking about much of the following, but I figured I should also keep to our weekly practice of reaching out.
Among the confusion and stress this week there have also been bright and wonderful efforts shining through, for example:
The Food Bank has provided a meal for clients during their open hours. It is usually cooked by volunteers and served buffet style. That has stopped for obvious reasons. They were considering giving out sack meals but worried that folks would sit together to eat them.
Then an idea…..How about giving every client a gift certificate to one of the many restaurants doing pick up. The client gets to choose the place and the meal, the businesses get paid. It won’t solve the entire economic issue, but it will make it a little better and I love the idea of folks who may not be able to afford to buy food getting to eat ‘out’ to right now.
As for OPAL, Lisa and her team jumped in and are collaborating with the Resource Center to manage mortgage and rent loans or grants for both businesses and individuals (open to all of the community). OICF is lending two of our business-minded Board members (Mary Clure and Marcia West) to help with that process, as they are already receiving many calls from worried neighbors.
The Resource Center (OCRC) has added hours to their staff so they can be ready to increase case management. They are also going to quickly spend out their emergency funds (used to help clients with utilities, medical, transportation and other basics). They are key support and will become more so as this crisis deepens. So very grateful that Erin O’Dell has dedicated herself to building this organization.
We had our first meeting of the Emergency Response Fund advisors on Thursday. The team is Lisa Byers (OPAL), Erin O’Dell (Community Resource Center), Berto Ganara (Episcopal Church), and Brian Moss (Community Church). We have so far raised $100,000 from about 50 donors. (OICF is not charging any fees on these gifts, every dollar in is dedicated to local relief).
The team recommended $50,000 in distributions sending $10,000 each to the Food Bank, OPAL, OCRC, and the Senior Center (who had doubled their home nutrition delivery program and anticipates quadrupling it this week). In addition, after hearing from some of my Community Foundation peers yesterday about the challenges their food banks were having getting food on the shelf, we are also giving the Food Bank an addition $10,000 to focus on helping our local farmers immediately increase their production so we have more available locally. They may also be offering starts and seeds for those who are thinking now is the time to start a victory garden.
The team opted to distribute half of the fund immediately with the belief that once the community saw how we are using their donations, they will continue to donate. This is a nimble and quick way to get money where it is needed when it is needed and ensure that lack of resources does not stand in the way of the important work these folks are doing.
Finally, OICF is retooling the GiveOrcas campaign. It will launch within two weeks with a list of the 14 nonprofit organizations that are central to this community, raising unrestricted funds to help with lost revenue. This will be a great option for those donors who like to give directly.
The trust and capacity that OICF has built over the past decade are really going to help during these troubling times. We could not have gotten here without the support of our Cornerstone donors. Your investment in OICF is being leveraged throughout this community. I think you will be pleased with your ROI–Ripple of Impact. It may get challenging soon, but thanks to you, Orcas will certainly fair better than many communities.
We are fortunate to have such a remarkable community of helpers.