In these moments before Governor DeWine speaks to the state about where we stand in the coronavirus crisis, I thought it would be valuable to take a breath and review where we’re at, and what our focus shall be at HSC for the immediate future.
Over the last four months, our role in support of our nearly 90 member agencies has been largely consistent with the lanes they have asked us to fill:
1) Government relations at the local, state, and federal levels;
2) Member services (business supports, shared services, etc.); and
3) PPE pursuit and distribution.
There are three common denominators to each of those lanes:
1) Securing and extending financial resources for each of our members;
2) Improving policies and regulations for the sector;
3) Providing one voice on behalf of the sector.
But all of it is intended to help our members do their work alleviating and addressing the inequities that persist in our community and country.
We’re going to keep working as hard as we can to help all of our members achieve their goals, and to help this community lead the country through the many crises in which we find ourselves.
None of what we can do is possible without learning from and amplifying each of our members, and each of you as our partners and collaborators and community leaders. For example: With thanks to the generosity of the City of Columbus, Franklin County, The Columbus Foundation, the Columbus Partnership, Can’t Stop Columbus, Bath & Body Works, Middle West Spirits, Dancor Solutions, and many others, we have played a role in distributing 200,000 bottles of hand soap, over 150,000 masks, 13,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 4,000 face shields.
There is so much more work to do.
Last week, we were grateful to co-host an important Webinar on The Resilience Initiative, a $20 million grant opportunity created by the City and the County to support health and human services agencies through this crisis. These funds, made available through the Coronavirus Relief Fund within the CARES Act, will be enormously impactful, though the dollars must be spent by November 30, 2020.
Because those dollars and PPP dollars will dry up before the end of the year, we’re concurrently working with our members and our congressional delegation in pushing for more, more flexible, and more sustainable resources that extend through 2021 to meet the still-billowing and unpredictable and intertwining needs of our community.
As we do so, we will keep talking about doing more than addressing immediate needs; we must be tackling systemic ones that have made this crisis fall so heavily on some, and not others. We will continue addressing racism, and inequity, and refusing to “return to normal”—“normal” just won’t do.
We’re standing on the precipice of uncertainty, just over 100 days from the presidential election, and with uncertainty about what Congress will do next, and with uncertainty about what happens next with the coronavirus in our state and country. But I assure you, we’ll keep fighting with all of you until these tumultuous days have eased, and until better days have finally arrived.
This is our community’s time to lead. And I’m grateful to support each of you along the way.