06.03.20

CEO Jeff Hirota on standing with our Black community and COVID-19 relief efforts

Dear Friends,

 
We planned to provide an update on the Community Foundation's COVID-19 relief effort, but we cannot begin there. In George Floyd's death, we have witnessed another in our centuries-long and heinous history of killing Black human beings. Racism and racial inequity are facts of life in America. We may rather not discuss, much less confront these truths, but for many there is no choice.
 
Please read the letter from Aaron Clark, Matt Zwiebel, and me, which accompanies this message. In the next few days, your Community Foundation will share a joint message we are crafting alongside a team of partners working to overcome racism and to advance racial equity. Please look for that message, as well.
 
When it comes to the pandemic, the statistics tell their own hard truth: COVID-19 disproportionately strikes people of color. Today's latest wave of grants recognizes the great need for medical care and support for those most impacted by inequity. Thanks to your support, Community Foundation Boulder County is announcing $654,584 in grants from our COVID-19 Boulder County Response Fund's Intervention Phase.
 
On March 13, the foundation's staff imagined the pandemic in three phases: Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery. Along with other Colorado funders, we framed our fundraising and grantmaking strategy accordingly. Donors rapidly committed support, while the fund's advisory committee mobilized to research the most pressing prevention needs of frontline nonprofit organizations throughout Boulder County. The Community Foundation directed a total of $750K in grants between March 20-April 22, as part of the Prevention Phase, including $100K to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund.
 
Next, we requested proposals for the Intervention Phase, to provide us with new perspective and to evolve our strategy. Our focus was on groups managing the resulting economic and social impacts from either increased infections or extended prevention strategies. Many of these organizations are facing their own economic challenges as they continue to provide services. Based on the proposals, we are announcing 55 grants today, including $250,125 for community health clinics.
 
This month, we also supported $380,963 in grants to small businesses through two of our funds: Lyons COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund ($22,500) and the Boulder Chamber COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund ($358,463). We anticipate a second round of grants from each fund thanks again to the continuing generosity of donors like you. Our Veteran's Fund also made its annual grants early to support Veteran-serving organizations through the COVID-19 crisis. The 15 Forever Youth Advisory Committee continued their work, despite the pandemic, by granting $6,550 to two organizations tackling youth homelessness. 
 
In retrospect, the phases of prevention, intervention, and recovery have blurred together. We realize the future is uncertain as we look ahead to a protracted recovery. The foundation's team is currently planning the annual Community Trust grant cycle-braiding together immediate needs related to the pandemic with our ongoing support of Boulder County's entire nonprofit sector.
 
Thank you for caring for this community through your Community Foundation Boulder County. As of May 29, the total committed to the Community Foundation's COVID-19 relief efforts was $1.5M. Your leadership at local nonprofits, and your generosity as donors continue to inspire and motivate all of us.
 
Our work together is far from complete. Future COVID-19 grants and all of the foundation's efforts will continue to stand with those most impacted by inequity. Please continue to give generously to your Community Foundation and to the COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County.
 
Our hearts may be anguished, but our spirits are unbroken. Let us dedicate ourselves to ensure justice and equity. Let us forge indomitably, in the words of Dr. King, the solidarity of the human family.
 
Yours in community,
Jeff Hirota
 
 

To our friends, neighbors, mentors, & colleagues:   

We want to start this by saying one fact: The most difficult conversation in America is about race, and for too long, we've done everything we can as a society to not go there. We can no longer avoid our discomfort. Now's the time to confront it head on. It is at the root of the unnecessary and brutal murder of a Black man named George Floyd in Minnesota.  
 
The truth is, this is far from a new occurrence for Black communities around the country, senseless violence and murders have been happening for years, decades, centuries.  
 
A long list of names have come out since the #BlackLivesMatter movement started in 2013 – Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are the most recent additions to a list that could be extended to the very beginnings of this nation. 
 
There is a lot to learn and process behind why these protests are occurring. Many in our community are asking what they can do to help. For the last year, we've been working on building an app, called DEI Today, to help leaders in our community wrap their heads and hearts around focusing on why diversity, equity, and inclusion matters and plan to launch it next month.  
 
But there's a lot of time in between now and then, and folks in our community are asking what they can do to support today. So while we continue working on our platform...we are providing the following recommendations: 
  1. If you are a leader of a business or organization, we suggest that you join us and leaders around the country in making a public statement in support of the Black community. Below, we've linked to a few of the more effective ones. We can also help you draft this statement.  
  2. We've curated a list of DEI education resources including articles, short videos, podcasts, booklists and more for you to review here.  
  3. If you or your company are in a place to financially support organizations working in support of the Black community in Colorado and nationwide, we've curated a list for you to review here
For many, this is a dialogue that has stayed far away from the business community as many feel that business is not a place for politics. The businesses and their leadership that have already made a public statement or financial commitment realize that this issue is indeed a moral issue, and must be addressed by anyone with power, privilege, and a voice – a true sign of leadership.   
 
We stand with the Black community today and always,  
 
Aaron Clark, DEI Today      
Matt Zwiebel, Pledge 1% Colorado