Report to Our Community 2019/20
Thank you to all the supporters of our community
July 5, 2020
At the end of 2019, The Community Foundation adopted a new five-year strategic plan, including new vision and mission statements. In three words, the plan’s title summarizes its central idea: opportunity for all. In 2020, so much has changed, both from the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic in our community and from the rising chorus of voices demanding greater racial equity and justice. The importance and the urgency of the strategies that we put in place last year have been magnified by the events of the last several months.
For philanthropy in Greater New Haven, as for business and government, COVID-19 is a crisis like no other. Social isolation is altering — perhaps permanently — how we connect with one another, while unemployment at Depression-era levels is redefining vulnerability in our society and stretching the public and private safety net beyond its breaking point. The path of recovery is highly uncertain, but one thing is clear: as a community, we are not going back to the way things were before COVID-19.
The devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19 fall disproportionately on people of color, widening the racial and ethnic disparities that have increasingly come to define our society over the last two decades. No matter how measured — rates of hospitalization and death, access to testing and care, unemployment, undocumented immigrants ineligible for public support, businesses receiving Small Business Administration loans, or young people with the connectivity to truly learn through remote schooling — the COVID-19 data in our community tell a terrible tale of inequality defined by race, ethnicity, citizenship and zip code. These data tell us that our pre-COVID approaches to advancing racial equity have proven to be inadequate.
As we write this, longstanding racial inequities and injustices are boiling over into protest and violence in cities across America following the tragic murder of an African-American man by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Our country and our community have reached a moment of reckoning with the structural racism that is so deeply embedded in our society. At this time of daunting challenges, the stakes could not be higher. So much about the future of our community — whether we can become a cohesive whole, recover what has been lost, and move forward to a new time of greater opportunity — will depend on how we respond now. ...