BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Last night, Bainbridge Community Foundation (BCF) hosted its virtual Gratitude Gathering and honored the entire Bainbridge Island community as its Outstanding Philanthropist. In previous years, local philanthropists were chosen as a result of their exceptional dedication to the community—but this year, the community was met with unprecedented giving after COVID-19 hit.
In April of this year, BCF conducted a survey of local nonprofits to see how they were handling the COVID-19 crisis. At that time, nearly 30% of organizations feared they would permanently close by the end of the year after canceling programs, furloughing and laying off employees, and facing scarce emergency resources. BCF shared this information with the community and it responded with unparalleled generosity. Bainbridge residents pulled together resources and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to nonprofits for emergency funds, project grants, and unrestricted operating costs in order to keep local organizations afloat. Nonprofit programs during COVID have supported nutritious food for kids, child care for essential workers, financial assistance for housing costs, purchase of PPE for caregivers, free counseling for teenagers and adults, and more. Volunteers also came together to sew masks to overcome the shortage of PPE, to care for our more vulnerable neighbors, and to work overtime in order to meet increasing demand for essential services.
Now, nonprofit leaders are sharing stories of fruitful online fundraising events and successful new programs that were developed in consideration of the quarantine requirements. As a result, many are ending this tumultuous year in a strong position. Through hard work, innovation, and financial support from the community, these organizations have weathered the storms they faced in 2020 and will continue to serve in 2021.
Bainbridge Community Foundation thanks the entire community for choosing resiliency in a time of crisis. “We know this has been a tumultuous year, and we know there are still tough times ahead—but we have each other,” said Jim Hopper, Executive Director of BCF. “We will remain connected despite social distancing, and we will continue to build this community as we did before. We will get through this together.”