The past few months have been filled with many challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has affected each of us. Hopefully, you and your family are healthy and have not been challenged by illness. Recovery after being sick; caring for a loved one who has been infected or losing someone to the virus is certainly the greatest challenge any of us can face. There is also the uncertainty of containing the virus, will it get worse or will we be able to treat it effectively in the coming months? This is creating mental health challenges, as feelings of depression, isolation, fear, and anger are becoming common complaints. There is great frustration at the inability to return to “normal” and the realization that there is going to be a “new normal” requiring adjustment.
For those of us working from home, adjusting to a different work/life balance has been challenging. Being able to get a quick answer from a coworker has been replaced by sending a text or email and waiting for a response. Virtual events and meetings are now normal procedure. Zoom has quickly become a part of the lexicon as we seek to interact with colleagues, donors, and even friends and family. While this is creative and forward-thinking, I find myself missing personal, social interaction. I miss meeting face-to-face and building rapport with my team as well as with our supporters. I miss being able to sit down over coffee to thank a donor or to share updates on what is happening in the community. The current environment has forced us to think about how we communicate with our donors, supporters, and potential supporters, not just in terms of the technology, but with sensitivity.
The economic challenges caused by weeks of closures and sheltering in place are significant as well. Millions have filed for unemployment. Reports say this time will rival the Great Depression and some lost jobs will not come back. People are challenged with paying their rent/mortgage, utilities, and putting food on the table. Even when we emerge from the pandemic and slowly reopen, we know life will be different. For many, recovery from the economic hit is going to be very difficult. This makes the work of United Way of the Greater Dayton Area (UWGDA) even more critical.
The Miami Valley has a long history of responding to challenges. UWGDA’s history began in response to a challenge, the devastating aftermath of the 1913 flood. Since that time, more than $700 million has been invested to help generations of local residents. We are currently still recovering from last year’s tornados and mass shooting, but we know our community will rise up to help with this crisis as well.
Time and again, we have seen people come together to help one another during or immediately following a crisis. It is important to remember that the need and the work continue long after a crisis. UWGDA is needed now more than ever to address the challenges that will face us moving forward.
My challenge to you is that you continue to support the work of UWGDA as we enter into our “new normal.” Your donation helps provide the resources needed to help move our community beyond the crisis toward long-term resiliency.
As you make a difference, you also have the opportunity to benefit from tax changes included in the CARES Act. The new policy permits taxpayers who do not itemize to take a one-time deduction up to $300 for their donation. It suspends the 60% adjusted gross income limitation for an individual’s charitable contributions for 2020 and allows cash contributions to be fully deductible. The policy increases the cap on corporate charitable deductions from 10% to 25% and it waives the required minimum distribution from retirement plans, including pensions and 457 plans. For more information, please speak to a financial advisor.
Although social distancing has become standard for us, we still remain united in our desire for a strong, vibrant community. UWGDA is grateful for the accomplishments our donors have made possible over the years. Challenges remain but with your help, we will address them. United, we will continue to make our region the best it can be.
Antoinette Hampton, Vice President, Resource Development