2020 to 2021...Crisis, Unity, Possibilities

Categories: COMMUNITY CARE: Preventing Homelessness, Season of Sharing, CEO Message, Response and Recovery,

Dear Friends:

At the start of 2020 I shared with you my New Year’s resolutions. Yes, like many I wanted to capture the momentum and hope that came with ushering in a new decade. Those pieces are always tough to put together, and especially so in a year like the one we’ve all experienced to date with its depths of uncertainty and anxiety, filled with so many unexpected twists and turns. So, you can understand I was apprehensive looking back at that optimistic missive from 11 months ago. Happily, I was surprised to discover that some resolutions had held true and that their messages may yet guide us forward.

As I said in January, we must lead with tolerance and embrace opportunities that unite rather than divide us. In hindsight, this message was ambitious in its ask but worthy of pursuit in all our efforts at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. I still believe that tolerance is the resource needed to co-create the coming decade with our neighbors.

And locally we have affirmed our unity. As we have seen during hurricanes, Red Tide, and even this global pandemic, neighbors from all walks of life are willing to open their hearts and minds to others in need – sometimes complete strangers.

With a culture as generous as ours, even the darkest times of crisis can become brilliant moments of caring.

A living example of that “pay it forward” philosophy is underway right now. Season of Sharing remains a time-tested and trusted way for our community to tap into this willingness to unite and change lives. While we’ve already seen how vital this safety net is throughout the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the re-activated campaign in March and the heartfelt storytelling of the Herald-Tribune Media Group, the need remains as heightened as ever across our four-county region.

Significantly, funding raised from last year’s holiday campaign and this year’s re-activated March campaign has already been called upon throughout this challenging year. In fact, Rental and mortgage assistance, utility bills, child care, transportation, food vouchers, or other crucial expense is on track to be depleted in just seven months. Seven months.

If this urgency is any indication, there is no better time than now to extend a helping hand your neighbors in need. From now until January 31st, 2021, our partners at The Patterson Foundation are bolstering your generosity by providing $100,000 for every $500,000 raised by you, our community.

Here I’d like to echo my initial 2020 New Year’s resolution: embrace this open invitation to be a philanthropist and come together to pay it forward for those most vulnerable, and share a gift that will continue to inspire hope and empowerment this holiday season.

Generations from now, how will we choose to remember 2020? Our decision matters, just as much as the lessons we have learned and grown from since January 1st. Even though our greatest challenges will not vanish when the clock strikes midnight this New Year’s Eve, I am confident that neither will the abundance of resiliency, hope, and unity that we have found within ourselves and our communities. We are and will always be one community, no matter the year.

As always, I’d love for you to chime in with your thoughts. In what ways have your New Year’s resolutions held true and guided you this year? Send me a personal message – they always brighten my day!

With warm wishes for a healthy holiday season filled with kindness,

Roxie Jerde

About Author

Roxie Jerde

President and CEO