Community – what a year!! We kicked off 2020 with big plans to celebrate our 25th anniversary as an organization. But as the coronavirus made its way through our communities, we were forced to shift our celebratory agenda and dig deeper into community relief, sustainability, health, and wellness. Then, the public lynching of George Floyd, a national outcry against racial injustice, and white nationalist terrorism reminded us all that the violent seeds of white supremacy remain in full bloom today.
Internally, we faced tough decisions. We were challenged to meet the moment head-on and make our stance on racial Justice and our fight for housing equity unmistakable and resolute, even when faced with opposition. What would Jesus have done? Jesus, who stated it is harder for the rich to enter his kingdom, Jesus who aggressively confronted the temple priests who cared more for themselves than the people’s health and wellness, Jesus, born an outsider. Jesus’ fight on earth was to ensure that the poor, the marginalized, and the dejected were not forgotten, but deeply and genuinely loved, protected, and cared for: “no need among us.”
There was nothing light or casual about 2020. The year demanded deep and focused attention on the places where our systems fail our wage poor, fail our elders, fail our Black and Indigenous, fail our children, fail the sustainability of this planet. There is sadness in my heart today for the ways too many of us refuse to show up for each other.
Thank you for being a light and for perpetuating hope during such a challenging year. It is because of you that we can fight on. Look what we accomplished TOGETHER in 2020! Look how our collective light has shown:
- We set a goal to reach 25 new Stability Makers (monthly donors) in honor of our 25th anniversary. We secured 42 new Stability Makers and increased our monthly revenue by over $2,000 a month.
- With the shutdowns, residents were losing work and struggling to meet their rent. We had one month to raise $127,000 for rent relief, and we raised a total of $159,100!
- In partnership with Broadway Pizza and staff donations, we delivered pizzas to over 140 households to spread some love and let residents know that we were thinking about them.
- After the murder of George Floyd, local uprisings shuttered essential businesses, and residents struggled to access groceries and other necessities for their families. Hundreds of donations poured into our office that staff distributed almost immediately.
- We hosted our first-ever virtual Perpetuate the Hope in August, with a fantastic turnout from our Urban Homeworks family! We were challenged on what equity looks like; we learned from community members and leaders at Urban Homeworks; we heard the organization’s story through the lens of our staff.
- We raised $155,000 together through the Perpetuate the Hope event!
- COVID-19 prevented us from delivering our annual Thanksgiving baskets to each household, so we set a goal to raise $4,500 to purchase Gratitude Gift Cards for each UHW family. You blew our goal out of the water, and we raised $7,660!
In December, community partner Bell Lumber & Pole challenged us to raise $50,000 in new, renewed, or increased gifts to be matched dollar for dollar in one month. You showed up and collectively donated $104,611, exceeding our goal and securing our match of $50,000 for a total of $154,611.
All these incredible highlights were in addition to the ways that you personally show up every year to support our general operations. Whether you donated $5 or $50,000, you helped bring a collective light to an otherwise dark year. Your words of encouragement, often alongside increased donations, engendered hope and kept us moving forward. We only make progress together. We only manifest hope – together.
Thank you for your light. May we shine on in 2021!
Interim Executive Director