Amongst the vast array of challenges that have come to light throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most vexing is the unevenness of its impact. In late February and early March, Seattle began to emerge as one of our nation’s leading hot spots for the virus, yet many other communities in the Pacific Northwest were barely impacted. Over the ensuing year, we have seen cases spike and retreat, economies shutter and tentatively reopen time and again.
Elected leaders have wrestled with questions of how to protect broad safety while accounting for the unique needs and circumstances of smaller communities. Should rural communities be held to the same standard as urban areas? Should cities at opposite ends of a state be required to operate within the same rules?
While broad policies and initiatives have their place and can be useful in some ways, this pandemic has also brought into stark relief the value and importance of leveraging insight and learning from groups on the front lines of community work. Groups with an intimate understanding of the unique needs and circumstances surrounding a specific community. This is just one of the many reasons we at the Murdock Trust are so grateful for the numerous community foundations that serve the Pacific Northwest.
Community foundations are uniquely positioned on the ground and directly connected to the population they serve. They are deeply familiar with the unique strengths and challenges of their region and they can be best situated to rapidly respond to a sudden need. Through their administration of donor advised funds, we have seen how they can help individual citizens grow and amplify their own individual giving and contribute greatly to the mosaic of community response. We have seen their incredible impact time and again as communities have worked through any number of challenges. They have helped reaffirm the ecosystem of sectors in communities and their value in helping individuals and families navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic distress.
Every year, the Murdock Trust seeks to provide a sampling of some of the groups we partner with and their collective impact on the common good through a storytelling project. For this year’s annual video project, we are taking a look at four different service sectors, some of the groups we are inspired by and how they have stepped up to help serve and support those in need during these historic times.
In the first of our four-part series, we share a glimpse into the depth and breadth of impact made by some of our local community foundations and how these organizations provide life-changing services across any number of sectors. We thank Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, Innovia Foundation and Idaho Community Foundation for their participation and all of our Community Foundation partners who help ensure that all individuals, families and communities have the opportunity to flourish and thrive.