Dig deep and shine


From: Nancy M. Brown, CFRE


Winona Community Foundation


Most letters these days start out with a reference to how we are living in different times with the advent of the coronavirus in our communities. This letter is no different.

As our community adjusts to home schooling, reduced and eliminated work hours, curbside carry-out, businesses locking up, and access to social activities limited, we tend to look to our nonprofit partners to shore us up. We may not think about how this pandemic is affecting their operations in many similar ways to it is affecting our local businesses.

There are several wonderful groups of individuals and organizations working together to solve critical issues such as homelessness when you must “shelter in place,” feeding the hungry when our normal community meal structure shuts down, and providing emergency financial assistance when a family suddenly loses both incomes. They have been swift in their problem solving and creative with their solutions.

So, if we are solving problems and creating solutions, what is the problem? To put it bluntly, money. With that, the Winona Community Foundation established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide financial resources quickly and easily to nonprofits who are experiencing an increase in requests for assistance due to the pandemic. To learn more about the fund or to make a gift today, visit www.winonacf.org.

Additionally, many of our community nonprofits we have come to rely on to provide programming, resources, and assistance would be hosting major fundraising events this spring. Every one of them has had to cancel, postpone, or reinvent their events. These organizations rely heavily on event income for operations. I heard from 15 organizations this week, and seven of them would have been in fundraising mode right now. Instead, they are in survival mode.

Other nonprofits rely on admission and membership fees (MMAM, the Y, the History Center, Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, etc.), and retail sales (ReStore, Grace Place, the Clothes Shop, etc.). These sources of revenue have all but dried up. Without charitable dollars we stand to lose some of our most essential and vibrant nonprofits.

As the head of the Winona Community Foundation, I recognize we need to be a strong voice for our nonprofit sector as they serve the immediate needs of our community. If you would have attended one of these events, purchased a raffle ticket, or won an auction item, I urge you to make a gift to those organizations any way. Although many have had to close their offices, these dedicated professionals are working from home and can be contacted in the same ways you have always contacted them. Let them know you support them.

If you have questions about where your gift might have the greatest impact during this time, please contact me at the Winona Community Foundation at 454-0441 or at nbrown@winonacf.org. Like everyone else, our office is closed to visitors but we are open to help with your charitable goals.

We live in an amazing community. Let’s all did deep and shine.


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