The following was written by Matt Durham, who serves on the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors, as part of our new Board Perspective blog series.
Preserve Our Community
Just a few days prior to the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed all our lives, the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties met for its scheduled Board of Directors meeting. We were all aware of the danger that COVID-19 presented and assumed that our government agencies would begin to enact ever more aggressive measures to slow the spread of the virus and to protect us. The idea of social distancing was just starting to become known. We sat further apart from each other than we usually do and worried collectively about what would come.
Our Foundation President and CEO Amy Owen presented us with a compelling idea, which was to start an emergency relief fund to help those affected by the coming crisis. These funds are traditionally used to address natural disasters—recovery from flooding, tornadoes, snowstorms and the like—and the idea to help people whose wages were impacted by a global pandemic was novel. After some education and discussion, our Board unanimously approved the proposal and created the Community Emergency Relief Fund.
At the same time, I was working closely with the staff of my other volunteer effort to determine how we should respond to the threat COVID-19 presented us. I am also the president of a local homeowners association (HOA), an HOA that is very large—about 6700 homes with well over 20,000 residents. Our management staff and I took steps to close the HOA amenities as well as postponing board and committee meetings.
Many of our residents seemed to understand and appreciate our actions, indicating support of our efforts for our community. The support for and strength of our community grew as neighbors began to amplify efforts to support local business suffering so heavily in this crisis by patronizing them as possible based on restrictions in place.
It’s this passion for community—our community—that leads me to encourage donations to the Community Emergency Relief fund here: https://communityfoundationlf.org/product/emergencyrelief/.
This fund is already assisting those affected by the crisis with rent and by helping to secure food and healthcare. These are folks who live and work in our community. They are our friends, neighbors and often service providers. And they need our help. Please donate to this fund. Preserve our community.