Photo credit: Coleen O’Brien

Happy New Year!

As I reflect on the past year, I recall how, last New Year, I was anticipating OICF’s 25th anniversary and excited about the celebrations we were planning. Needless to say, those parties never quite materialized and the year was spent coordinating a truly remarkable community response to the pandemic and subsequent economic crisis.

When it became apparent in March that we were facing very challenging times ahead, the Foundation launched a unified fundraising effort (the Community Emergency Response Fund/CERF), committing to support the safety net services. Those organizations providing services were able to focus their energies on building their capacity to meet the needs.

OICF launched weekly (now biweekly) community check-in calls to learn more about ever-shifting needs and opportunities that were arising and helped coordinate efforts to address those needs.

The community stepped up in ways unimagined at the start of 2020. By the end of 2020, we have raised $1.7 million and distributed over $1.4 million (see CERF grantees 2020). Thanks to the Seattle Foundation and the All in Washington campaign, we will be applying for $700,000 in matching funds, giving us about $1 million to provide ongoing support through 2021.

While we know that neighbors continue to struggle, there is a strong and responsive safety net available to help keep them afloat. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible–Board members, staff, volunteers, donors–neighbors helping neighbors, now more than ever.

This may have been the best way to celebrate OICF’s 25th after all.

Wishing you good health and joy in the year ahead.