Our Community Responds to COVID-19
March 18, 2020
Here is some very good news: All sectors of our beloved community in Northern Virginia have come together to respond to COVID-19.
We are particularly blessed in our region with strong anchor institutions led by extremely well trained and responsive leaders. Of even greater significance, to my mind, is that existing relationships between and among our region’s leaders are also strong. Intra-sector and cross sector communications are active and ongoing. There is no doubt that the level and quality of these community-based conversations will drive better outcomes for our region.
The importance of responsible, competent leadership is critical, and here in Northern Virginia, we are witnessing local leadership at its best. Thank you to our elected and appointed public officials, to our health departments on the vanguard of the COVID-19 response and encouraging us daily to do the right thing for the greater society, and to our amazing health care systems and health care workers. Your judgment, expertise and training are carrying the day.
Nonprofits also play a critical role in building and sustaining community. Our nonprofit leaders are currently facing a perfect storm of higher service demand in an atmosphere of diminishing resources, and the landscape shifts by the hour. We should do what we can to support them and to give generously. This is not a time to wait and see. It is a time to double down on community and our very personal commitment to it.
Today, Amazon announced a $1 million gift to 4 community foundations in the region, including ours, to help meet the most critical needs that the virus is serving up. Private sector companies, professional firms, chambers, and economic development authorities across the region are also reaching out, making or encouraging donations, and thinking through their path to greatest impact. As data driven organizations, our private sector leaders are looking at the latest and most reliable information and tailoring their responses to it. Given the vibrant nature of our local economy, their help and influence will be critical in the coming weeks, cushioning the COVID-19 impact and bolstering the social sector’s capacity to respond to it.
Like many organizations, the staff of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has taken the precautionary measure of working remotely. We are fully equipped to do so and are conducting the usual, and the extraordinary, operations of the Community Foundation as the virus’ impact unfolds. As has always been the case, we are readily available by email and our contacts are posted on our website.
This moment will pass, as such events always do. In the meantime, as we all grow in knowledge and understanding, let’s embrace the opportunities the moment presents. We can trust in our local leaders. We can slow down a bit and reconnect with family and friends. We can share the collective responsibility to wash our hands and maintain “social distance.” And we can connect back to that which always beckons – the common good and our shared humanity.
We are one region, one community. It is really all we need.