Dear United Way Friends,I hope this note continues to find you and yours safe and healthy.I’ve been thinking back to March 16th of this year. That was the day our team left our offices with the intention we’d be able to return in two weeks. After those two weeks passed, we were then certain that we would return to our offices by the end of April. And now, here we are in the middle of October, many of us still working remotely with the reality that the pandemic has completely altered every aspect of our lives.
In March, I don’t believe any of us could have imagined the trajectory of the last few months and even now I am not sure that we can really fathom how this next year will play out. I worry for individuals who lost their jobs, became teachers overnight, and lost social connections outside of their home, that COVID-19 may have a long-term impact on their family’s lives. We see it every day in our work: the generational effects of poverty that thousands of families deal with each day in our community. It is a grim possibility to imagine, which is why it is so important that our community decides how we can work together and put the resources in place to drive us to a place where COVID-19 does not become the beginning of generational poverty for the thousands of families experiencing a new and sobering reality within our community but is instead an episodic event where recovery is within sight.
We know that there were disparities in our community long before COVID-19 reached us, and we’ve seen how those disparities have been intensified by COVID-19.I believe that we have a responsibility to our community to rebuild a stronger, healthier, safer Forsyth County. We cannot allow the setbacks from COVID-19 to have a domino effect that will last for generations.
At United Way, we were already talking about and working to address the economic mobility of individuals in our community before COVID-19. Recognizing that we needed a guide and a tool for evaluating the status of households, as they move from a state of crisis to thriving, we developed an Economic Mobility Roadmap. This tool helps us identify what status families and individuals are in who are served by our investments and build a path with them towards a thriving future.
We want to see a community where every single individual is thriving. If we allow COVID-19 to create a cycle of generational poverty for families then we will never achieve this vision. We’ve had many folks ask us if our focus has changed due to COVID-19, and the answer is no. We know that problems existed in our community long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has worsened many needs. Those needs are not going to disappear when COVID-19 does. Bottom line, we want people who live in Forsyth County to thrive. We hope you’ll join us in this fight.
I also want to thank the community once again for supporting the COVID-19 fund. We raised almost $4.5 million dollars to address immediate and emerging needs caused by the pandemic. The fund officially closed September 30th and the committee is accepting applications through October 9th and will then make a final round of investment decisions.
As always, thank you for LIVING UNITED.
President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County