President’s Blog: 2020 The Bright Side

President’s Blog: 2020 The Bright Side

By Dan Baldwin, President/CEO Community Foundation for Monterey County

We’ve all heard, said or shared the jokes: what more could go wrong in 2020? Locusts? Spaceships? Frogs falling from the sky? Even old timers (wait, I’m an old timer…) can’t remember the confluence of public health, economic, civic unrest and just plain anxiety that has pervaded our daily lives.

And now we have a presidential election in an era when political divisions are as deep as they’ve ever been. Feels like we can’t get past this fast enough.

With all the calamity, I’m fortunate to work in a sector fueled by caring and optimism. The desire to give is not restricted to good times, and 2020 has reinforced the good that resides inside CFMC donors,” Dan Baldwn, President, CEO

The COVID-19 Relief Fund was started March 19. It has raised $3.4 million and granted more than $3.2 million through 131 grants.

Your Giving, Neighbor Helping Neighbor 

Grants have helped families buy food, pay rent, pay medical bills. Grants have helped agencies serve the newly unemployed – working to keep families in their homes. Grants have provided medical workers the equipment they need to provide in-home services. The Food Bank for Monterey County. Catholic Charities. Salvation Army. Visiting Nurses Association. These are all multiple grantees from the COVID-19 Relief Fund, and their names alone speak to the type of need.

Philanthropic Response

The philanthropic response came from several sectors. CFMC donor advisors transferred more than $739,000 into the COVID 19 Relief Fund and have made additional direct grants of more than $930,000 to agencies for COVID relief. We received private foundation contributions (the fund was initiated through a pledge from our friends at the Monterey Peninsula Foundation), corporate contributions, and, of course, donors throughout Monterey County gave generously. Gifts are still coming in and grants going out.

With no timetable for when this crisis will end, we simply encourage continued giving.” – Dan Baldwin

Relief for Small Business

The economic fallout has been harsh, affecting large businesses and small. The CFMC partnered with the Monterey Peninsula Chamber to establish the Monterey Peninsula Small Business Recovery Fund. The City of Monterey contributed $1 million of restricted funds that went to more than 100 businesses with 20 employees or less. The grants may seem modest, but the response from the businesses told us the impact was timely and so appreciated.

Wildfire Relief

Three wildfires: River, Carmel and Dolan. Again, our donor advisors, partner foundations and the community responded with remarkable generosity. We’ve established relationships with community organizations connected to each of the regions affected by the fires and have granted more than $450,000 for fire relief.

Giving Season

As we head toward year-end giving season, and Monterey County Gives! (our partnership with the Monterey County Weekly and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation), there is no better way to show community spirit, dogged resiliency, (name your gesture here), and togetherness than to give.

Everyone has different capacity, but as we’ve learned through the disaster funds, it is the cumulative generosity that creates impact.” – Dan Baldwin

At the CFMC we marvel at the small checks that we know represent great sacrifice, but demonstrate neighbor helping neighbor.

Gives! has raised more than $5.4 million each of the past two years. Our nonprofits, like our for-profits, have seen the reduction and sometimes disappearance of revenue streams. Providing support to agencies who work with the homeless, youth, food security, education, environment, the arts….and more….is critical to maintaining the excellence of our community.

75th Anniversary

And a minor irony: 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. The list of founders includes many familiar names: SFB Morse, T.A. Work, Francis Elkin, Margaret Jack, Robinson Jeffers and Armin Hansen. We had many events planned, wanting to put the focus on how the CFMC and its donors support our remarkable nonprofits.

But if ever there was a year that reinforced the wisdom of our founders, it is 2020.

Dan Baldwin is President/CEO of the Community Foundation of Monterey County. Its mission is to inspire philanthropy and be a catalyst for strengthening communities throughout Monterey County.