Dear United Way Friends,
I hope this note continues to find you and yours safe and healthy.
This is a special edition of From the Desk Of. Today marks one year since we left the office to work from home. In some ways it seems like yesterday and, in others, like a million years ago. To mark the day, we have some special plans as a staff (virtually of course!). I’d like to share part of a note I sent to our staff last week that reflects on the past year.
It is unfathomable that a year ago we were still mostly unaware of what was about to unfold and completely unprepared for the scope and duration. To me, the first weeks out of the office now seem like a dream. I was somewhat in shock that the world had closed overnight, and the needs had increased exponentially. And I, like everyone, was scared about what was to come. We suddenly could not leave our homes or find toilet paper and many other products we take for granted and we had no idea what put us at risk and what was safe. It was a frightening time.
But we adjusted and kept moving. We figured out how to overcome the obstacles, pivoted to where we needed to be at the right moment, and didn’t let fear stop us from doing what we could see needed to be done. I don’t think any of us fully appreciate what we’ve been through and what we’ve accomplished despite the obstacles. When I reflect, it is nothing short of miraculous that we are all here “together” in March 2021.
I want to acknowledge that it has been a very difficult year. Many have lost their lives, leaving loved ones to mourn and unable to observe the rituals that provide comfort at a sad and painful time. Individuals have had their health affected by COVID, families have been separated, and anxiety and stress has been an undercurrent every day.
However, I can see there has been some light and good in these unprecedented times. We have demonstrated resiliency and strength. We have served our community well and we have remained committed to delivering on our mission in old ways and many new ways.
As I wrote this note to staff, I realized that we have learned much. For example –
We have become experts on using virtual platforms.
We have been encouraged by the flexibility shown by our partner organizations as they have adjusted how they deliver services and still meet the needs of the community.
We have been able to attend meetings and trainings that we would have otherwise not been able to do.
We have a greater appreciation for the times we have seen each other in person.
You, our donors, have recognized the increased needs and continue to generously support the community through your contributions to the COVID fund and the Annual United Way Campaign.
Finally, and most importantly, our work has carried on and, in many ways, has been more impactful than before proving that even in the darkness, light persists and sometimes shines brightly.
President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County