In 2008, just weeks after relocating to Portland from the Midwest, I was hired into my dream job at the time as co-director of a nonprofit feminist community center.
But less than three months into my new role, a number of factors coalesced at once—on top of the devastating impact of the 2008 recession—and it quickly became clear that we’d need to raise a lot of money very quickly or the organization would have to shut its doors.
All of a sudden, I was leading a campaign to keep the organization afloat. I felt the world on my shoulders—the jobs of people on my team, the legacy of generations of strong feminists that had built up this organization—and I woke up every single day with a deep sense of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.
It’s exactly that feeling of anxiety that so many people are waking up with today. People and organizations in our communities are hurting, and everyday seems to bring more uncertainty—financially, psychologically, physically, and otherwise.
I’ve been thinking about my time at the community center a lot lately. Not just because of the returning pit of anxiety, but because of what happened next. What I’m remembering right now is that, as the community center was on the verge of shutting down, we raised almost half of our annual operating budget in the span of two months. Hundreds of people showed up to put their values into action—to make a statement about what truly matters in a crisis and to fight for the organization that supported our community.
And that is exactly what I’m seeing today.
Today, and every day since the COVID-19 crisis began, people in our communities are making a statement about what truly matters. We are seeing what it looks like when we put our values into action.
I’m heartened to see our community respond to this crisis with that same courage, generosity, and action. Here at Pride Foundation, it is fueling our Crisis Community Care efforts and has enabled us to do so much in just a few weeks, including:
- Connecting with grantees and community partners across the Northwest to see how they are doing, what they need from us, and how we can better support them.
- Awarding the first round of grants from our Crisis Community Care Fund to organizations being hit hard by the crisis, and who are providing mutual aid and other kinds of support to Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, people living with HIV/AIDS, immigrants, older adults, and people experiencing homelessness. We are moving resources out as quickly as we can raise them, and are planning to make additional awards in the coming weeks.
- Hosting briefings to engage supporters and Donor Advised Fundholders to leverage additional funds for LGBTQ+ organizations in the region.
- Launching tools to support organizations like our resources page and a webinar on applying for federal stimulus grants.
- Bolstering efforts to build and sustain community connections through individual outreach and blogs reflecting on life as queer folks in the COVID-19 crisis in Montana and Alaska.
While we pause to celebrate these critical pieces of work that community support has made possible, we also know that there are more community organizations in need of support, and we are doing everything we can to provide that.
Thank you for your ongoing support—and for putting your values into action every single day.
Katie Carter is Pride Foundation CEO.