When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, what was already a difficult life for homebound seniors across the country became even more difficult. The final days, or weeks, or months, for shut-ins can be dark and depressing, especially in winter months. Isolated from the community at-large, the realities of COVID-19 only exacerbated the problem.
But here in Homer, the community came together to help relieve some of the darkness for homebound seniors. Through a grant from the Homer Foundation, one local nonprofit, the Homer Council on the Arts, started an ingenious program named “Art from the Heart,” in which 141 local school students created art work for shut-ins to bring some light to their days. Teachers related the students’ profound care as they made these personal gifts and letters of encouragement. Thirty-three artists were part of five commissioned performance projects, also created for isolated seniors. It was a wonderful act of kindness, made possible by the pooled community donations that are the backbone of every community foundation.
This story — along with the countless others like it — demonstrates the importance of community foundations in this country, which are uniquely situated to improve their regions through supporting innovative solutions and creating powerful partnerships. Each community foundation is a public charity that focuses on supporting a geographic area by pooling donations to meet community needs. From Nov. 12 to 18, we celebrate Community Foundation Week each year, a time when we can share and reflect on the stories of impact over the past 12 months. Though you may not yet know your local community foundation, you’ve likely felt its impact.
That’s because The Homer Foundation and more than 1,000 other community foundations across the country help to bring donors and residents together. Community foundations work to support the efforts that will help the places we call home continue to flourish and grow.
As the very first community foundation ever started in Alaska, The Homer Foundation serves the communities of Ninilchik, Anchor Point, Homer, Seldovia, Port Graham, Nanwalek and every place in between. We are an independent foundation laser-focused solely on the Southern Kenai Peninsula, and since 1991 we’ve been connecting your generosity to community need.
As we enter the giving season, millions of people from every background will be looking to give back to the communities that have supported them. They’ll also look to ensure that their heartfelt giving — however they choose to give — will have the most impact. That’s why so many of them will choose to give to a community foundation, where their dollars are pooled with millions of others for serious impact.
A gift to your local community foundation is an investment in the future of your community. We like to say that community foundations are “here for good.” At The Homer Foundation, we don’t think about the next election or business cycle, we think about the next generation and the ones after that.
That can seem a daunting task, but it’s the only way to ensure that dollars given today are still making a difference 50 years from now. During Community Foundation Week, we hope you’ll join us in recognizing our collective impact and the difference we can make together.
For more information on The Homer Foundation, please visit homerfoundation.org and find us on Facebook and Instagram.
Mike Miller is the Homer Foundation executive director.