These are difficult days. We’re frightened by the havoc COVID19 may wreak on our families, friends, local businesses and the simple pleasures of life in North Texas. And for good reason.
But we’re not letting that stop us. Every day, our healthcare workers are sacrificing personal safety to save the lives of strangers. Public servants are working around the clock to navigate a world turned upside down. Nonprofit leaders are re-engineering the delivery of critical services to help those most in need.
And everywhere you turn, people are looking for ways to connect.
Several years back, Mayor Price talked about Fort Worth becoming a community of “front porches” from which people look out for one another. Fast forward to 2020, and we’re calling out to neighbors from across the street; texting grocery lists to the neighborhood volunteer who dares brave the grocery store. We’re walking, biking, waving and Zooming our way into each other’s lives.
Because, as it turns out, we need each other. And never more so than now.
At North Texas Community Foundation, we have the privilege of serving a community with a rich history and a “get it done” mentality; a community of people with strong connections to this area and even stronger bonds with one another.
We support more than 250 generous families and businesses who have enjoyed financial success and share their bounty with those in need through the charitable Funds they’ve established at the Community Foundation. Just last week alone, our donors enabled us to distribute more than $1.2 million in donations to local organizations.
We are inspired on a daily basis by dedicated nonprofit leaders developing smart solutions to deliver services to those unable to do for themselves – children in our foster care system, families at risk of domestic violence, and individuals experiencing homelessness, mental illness or addiction.
Commitment and ingenuity are now the coins of the realm. Before COVID–19, community leaders were already working on overdrive. Now, increasing demand for services complicated by social distancing requirements and the loss of revenue-generating fundraisers have combined to make their jobs a lot tougher.
And our leaders are rising to the challenge. Here’s a quick re-cap of some incredible work underway – and the generosity that is helping to fuel it.
- Food: Tarrant Area Food Bank is working with Chef Jon Bonnell to redeploy furloughed restaurant workers and meet a 35% increase in demand for services. FWISD and the City of Fort Worth are providing meals from 18 school locations and 20 community centers. To date, Boys & Girls Club of Tarrant County has provided 6,000 meals, and church pantries and volunteers across North Texas are supporting our most vulnerable residents with groceries and necessary staples. And our good friends at Higginbotham Insurance are delivering delicious meals prepared by local restaurants to nonprofits working on the frontlines!
- Child Care: Child Care Associates, Best Place 4 Kids, Camp Fire and Educational First Steps launched a website to help frontline workers find childcare. This week, Workforce Solutions will launch a new child care subsidy to help essential workers cover the costs. Early Head Start programs at Center for Transforming Lives and Child Care Associates and are delivering groceries, infant formula and essentials to families at home and online educational programs.
- Education: FWISD is mobilizing an on-line education platform for 80,000 homebound students. Principals, teachers, Read Fort Worth, The Morris Foundation and Lockheed Martin are helping the District ensure that each family has a device to help students access content and internet connectivity.
- Vulnerable Families: With shelters at capacity and incidents of domestic violence on the rise, ACH Child and Family Services, SafeHaven, The Women’s Center and Alliance for Children are hard pressed to deliver essential services and keep parents and their children safe. Donations are helping pay for staff, HIPPA-compliant teleconferencing capability, and cleaning supplies.
- Homeless Services: Presbyterian Night Shelter, JPS, DRC Solutions and Tarrant County Homeless Coalition are coordinating services for 350+ individuals staying at the Convention Center. Donations are underwriting increased staffing, healthcare, cleaning supplies and hygiene stations.
- Seniors: Meals On Wheels, Sixty or Better and Catholic Charities are providing seniors with nutritious meals, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Last week, Meals on Wheels’ client intake increased by 50 individuals in a single day. True to their mission, they are taking all comers.
- Workforce: “Sheltering in place” is keeping us physically safe, but the effect on small business employees has been devastating. In response, The Miles Foundation, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Solutions launched a website to help redeploy laid off workers to meet hiring needs arising due to COVID-19.
We’re proving the rule that necessity is the mother of invention. And invention needs investment to get the job done. That’s where generosity comes into play.
What do you have to contribute? Think about how you can support the agencies listed above that are working on the frontlines.
Financial donations are essential, but the challenges we face require more than money.
We need you.
What gifts do you have to share with our community in her hour of need? Knowledge, technology, skills, time, advice, support, encouragement? Your contributions will help us endure and provide strength for the days ahead.
What are you willing to invest?
And if you have good ideas for how North Texas Community Foundation can improve our response to COVID, please let me know.
Because we’re all better together.
By Rose Bradshaw, President/CEO
Featured in Fort Worth Business Press.