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In the Age of COVID, Ongoing Tweaks and Considerations

A Letter from Executive Director Diana Spencer

To Our Grantee Partners,

What an unchartered journey we are all traversing! Like a dark and silent war taking thousands of lives, furloughing record numbers of people, and creating great economic uncertainty, COVID-19 has hit McGowan communities hard, and you have been battling the ramifications.

On behalf of the McGowan board and staff, we THANK YOU for the tremendous efforts you demonstrate day after day. Your flexibility in pivoting to serve the immediate needs and greatest threats during the 2020 COVID global health crisis is inspirational, accentuating your strength and dedication to serving your community.

Like many of you, the McGowan Fund has a history of pivoting. In 2008, the Fund pivoted to increase grant dollars to the Human Services program during and following the Great Recession. With the alarming number of people facing homelessness and food insecurity for the first time, it was with a great sense of urgency that we adapted to support those in crisis.

In 2020, with the same sense of urgency, we pivot again. As mentioned in prior letters, in the last year, my efforts have focused on research and development toward the next national initiative for the Fund. Grants of this nature extend beyond the five McGowan geographic regions with the intention of sustainable national impact.

That focus has shifted. Not only did the board of directors approve an emergency funding strategy of $1.5 million in March, the Fund also determined that the implementation of a new national initiative will be placed on hold for at least the year ahead as we deploy those dollars into the five McGowan regions.

People speak of “the new normal.” Nothing about this pandemic—the loss of life, social distancing, devastation of small businesses, skyrocketing unemployment, lines at retailers and food banks, rising numbers in shelters, and increasing incidents of domestic violence—should ever feel normal. What is becoming a new normal is that people are exercising more patience, becoming more creative in problem-solving, increasing resiliency skills, and honoring the all-important relationships that we may have taken for granted before. These new norms give me hope for a better tomorrow.

Our country has overcome hardship before, and together, we will again.

Diana Spencer