By Brian Payne, president/CEO, and Gregory F. Hahn, chair, Central Indiana Community Foundation
One year ago, you heard us pledge our commitment to this community. Central Indiana Community Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation, Hamilton County Community Foundation, and Women’s Fund of Central Indiana came together and pledged to mobilize people, ideas and investments to make this a community where all individuals have the equitable opportunity to reach their full potential—no matter place, race or identity. That is our mission. And it has never been more critical than right now.
The uncertainty and vulnerability that has weighed on all of us for weeks have been an everyday reality for many residents, neighborhoods and communities in Central Indiana for generations.
We recognize the uniquely destructive impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on residents already made vulnerable by business as usual in an unfair and unjust system. We refuse to return to business as usual after this moment has passed.
As we all work to find a way to navigate this health and economic crisis, we are making another commitment:
- To every family impacted by the loss of jobs and income, we are with you.
- To small business owners and gig-workers navigating an uncertain future, we are with you.
- To artists and performing arts organizations who have canceled exhibits and performances, we are with you.
- To organizations reinventing themselves to accommodate a new reality, we are with you.
- To students whose educations have been interrupted and those robbed of the safe haven and meals that school provides, we are with you.
- To senior citizens and those with disabilities who are now feeling even more isolated, we are with you.
- To our neighbors living without shelter or struggling to meet their basic needs, we are with you.
- To the workers on the frontline taking risks to keep us fed, healthy and safe, we are with you.
- To the immigrants and refugees separated from lifesaving resources by a language barrier or their undocumented status, we are with you.
- To the Black and brown families devastated by disproportionate access to quality health care and a corresponding increase in illness and death, we are with you.
- And to everyone grieving, we are with you.
The neighborhoods hit hardest by this pandemic are the very ones where we’ve worked with CICF Community Ambassadors to build meaningful relationships through listening and learning.
We are committed to continuing this work — especially in our communities of color who have been historically ignored. We will continue to invest in their futures because they are our future. We will hold to our mission of equity and continue our work to dismantle systemic racism, remove the barriers separating opportunity from so many of our neighbors, and create our Inclusive City and region. We will give residents the support they say they need. We will continue to fight for you and lead with you. Now and when the COVID-19 headlines have passed.
There are ways that every one of us can help our neighbors during this difficult time. Check on your neighbors — especially if they are seniors. Leave a note in the mailbox with a way to reach you. Before you take a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, ask if your neighbor needs anything. Check the credibility of information and resources before sharing. (CICF is curating a list of resources available on our website at cicf.org) Our community’s not-for-profits need support now more than ever. Give to them if you can. Find ways to stay connected with loved ones.
Take care of yourself. Be safe. Be kind.
And remember that we are community. We are in this together. And we are with you.