I believe that nonprofits serve a vital purpose in building strong, healthy and resilient communities by providing important and crucial services that help build stability and overall community health — financially, emotionally and spiritually.
Frequently, nonprofit leaders are the voice of the people they serve, many times a voice for those who typically aren’t heard. In many situations, nonprofits often understand better than anyone else their communities’ needs and the best ways to meet them. Strong, stable, well-resourced nonprofits that are connected to the decision-making infrastructure in their communities can help stimulate growth and opportunity.
But, in an era of growing needs and shrinking government resources and especially in a crisis like we find ourselves in, we nonprofits are being asked to do even more with less, placing additional strain on our already limited resources. With limited resources, many of us nonprofits are struggling to get the support that can strengthen our overall operations, enabling us to deliver our services more effectively and ultimately helping create a healthier, stronger environment that is good for everyone in our community, throughout all sectors.
We are in the middle of a pandemic. One that we’ve never experienced before. It is a war, a war with an invisible enemy, that is devastating individuals and families around the globe. In the face of that I felt it was necessary to establish the COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds, so that we could have resources for our community, for our people, for our families.
I believe that we are just in the beginning of it, so the medium- to long-term needs have not even been determined yet. My hope is that this fund will help ease the burden on our local nonprofits who are serving those most impacted by this present crisis. 100% of all funds raised will stay local and will support our community’s organizations and individuals in need as a result of this pandemic.
The first round of funding will likely go to our local member agencies who are on the front lines serving those impacted by the virus. Agencies like Salvation Army, FISH Food Pantry, St. Francis Community Kitchen, Friendly Kitchen/Meals On Wheels of Roseburg, Options Counseling, Phoenix School and Peace at Home (formerly known as BPA), to name a few. The more funds that come in, the more that we will be able to expand our reach.
Nonprofits are being devastated just like our for-profit businesses, our healthcare workers, our educators, our first responders, our families. There is not a sector in our community that hasn’t been adversely affected by COVID-19. Lives have been radically changed and we all are trying to determine what the new “normal” is, for this present crisis.
Being a member of this community for nearly 20 years, and having worked in the for-profit sector, the faith-based sector and now the non-profit sector, I am confident that we will overcome this. If, and only if, we work together, we are wise and heed the words from our government and healthcare officials, we make the short-term personal sacrifices of comfort and desires — and practice the “social distancing.”
If we are kind and caring towards one another, then the long-term negative effects and results will not be as drastic as we are seeing in other parts of the world! If we will truly love our neighbors and truly be wise and make those small sacrifices that we’ve been asked to make, we will beat this.
We are Douglas County Strong.
Donations to the United Way can be made online at www.gduway.org, checks can be mailed to our address at 702 SE Jackson St., Roseburg, OR 97470 or you can go to any Banner Bank branch in Douglas County to make a deposit directly.