March 13, 2020
COVID-19 and the impact it may have on our healthcare system and vulnerable populations is dominating the news and social media. Much of this information is speculation, but few can deny that this epidemic will have, and is already having, a large impact.
I am writing to tell you about the Eau Claire Community Foundation’s (ECCF) preparation for the possible impact of coronavirus on our operations and community.
ECCF Business Continuity Plan
Should the need arise for ECCF to close its office, the staff will have remote access to the ECCF server, grant and accounting software, and will be available to check voicemail. ECCF can also be reached via its mobile cell phone, 715-210-4446.
Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation (ECPSF) Golden Apple Awards on April 16 and the Women’s Giving Circle Spring Gathering on May 4
ECPSF continues to plan for its annual Golden Apple Awards dinner on April 16 at Wild Ridge Golf & Event Center, and ECCF continues to plan for the WGC Spring Gathering on May 4 at the Eau Claire Golf and Country Club. We certainly understand you may feel some hesitancy about responding to the invitation in a time of uncertainty. Please register and rest assured that if we should cancel one or both events, we will offer a refund or, if you prefer, process your registration as a donation.
We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and are working to determine the best course of action.
The Impact on Nonprofits
The impact on nonprofits will vary on several levels, but primarily in two forms: the impact on their revenues, expenses and operations from potentially closing their physical facilities and/or canceling events; and the increased demand for services.
ECCF always encourages nonprofits to prioritize the development of reserves in order to weather challenging situations such as the one we currently face. In addition, we urge all nonprofits to take the threat of coronavirus seriously and prepare operational contingency plans now.
Nonprofits providing health services and support for those who may lose work because of the economic downturn and therefore need food, housing, health care and other services may face significant demand.
Donors can support nonprofits in meaningful ways through contributions, including grants recommended by holders of donor advised funds at ECCF. We encourage donors to connect with nonprofits that are important to them and find out what help the organizations might need to weather the crisis.
How do we approach this as a community foundation? ECCF is collaborating continually with the Dunn County Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Chippewa County, United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, United Way of Dunn County and our local area’s private foundations to meet the needs of our area nonprofits.
The United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley has a Volunteer Guide book that features our area nonprofits and their services. Great Rivers 2-1-1 has a 24 hour toll free hotline (211) available in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa that has information, referrals, and crisis support for individuals needing immediate services. They also have translation services available.
Protecting the Health of Our Community Together
We all hope for a speedy end to this health care crisis. However, during the crisis we can ease the anxiety and tension by remembering that every person and organization is facing unforeseen challenges each day. We embrace these challenges because to proceed with business-as-usual would jeopardize the health and safety of our families, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Through action, compassion, and common sense, our community can and will weather this storm.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
ECCF Executive Director