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Community Foundation Responds to Grand Traverse County Commission

By: David Mengebier, President and CEO

At your Community Foundation, we envision communities that are healthy, resilient, and thriving for all people. We regularly witness first-hand the generosity and commitment in support of this vision from donor, nonprofit, business, philanthropic, and governmental partners. 

Over the last year, we have seen, in ways like never before, the power and value of working together, aligning resources, and supporting our communities amid an ongoing pandemic that continues to significantly affect the well-being of our region – from health impacts to economic challenges. We have also seen cross-sector leaders from private, public, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations come together to set an ambitious vision for the future through a Community Development strategy anchored around economic, societal, and environmental goals. 

In response to the impact of COVID-19 in our region, donors in our communities quickly came together, collectively contributing more than $760,000 to an Urgent Needs Fund. This generosity has been used to support organizations throughout our five-county region meeting basic needs of individuals and families. The adoption by any public entity of a pandemic resolution that discourages law enforcement professionals from enforcing emergency health orders detracts from our communities’ collective efforts to respond to the pandemic and undermines the science-based guidance of state and local public health experts. While we have made progress in managing the spread of the coronavirus, remaining diligent and following the lead of our public health officials is necessary to continue to slow and stop the spread and protect our residents and essential workers. 

Working collaboratively and for the collective good also necessarily requires a commitment to civility. Actions to discourage respectful dialogue, like the recent display of a firearm during a public meeting while a community member was expressing their opinion, does not support the civil discourse that is central to the functioning of local, state, and federal government and runs counter to the standards of conduct we expect from our local officials. Our community and our elected officials must embrace public discourse that encourages and values diverse opinions and perspectives. 

We believe that our communities across the region will keep coming together now and in the months ahead as we continue to respond to the pandemic and work together toward an even more resilient and thriving region. To do this, we must focus on collaborative, coordinated efforts that safeguard the health of our communities, help rebuild our economy, and treat everyone with respect and dignity.

Photo credit: Aaron Burden / Unsplash