As we experience the tragic, uncertain, early days of COVID-19’s impact on our community, we mourn those we have already lost and offer what strength and comfort we can to one another as we grieve. And in the moments we can find, we reflect on the things we have always known that are now impossible to ignore.
We have always known, for example, that nonprofits too often stand in the gaps where markets don’t go and where public funding fails. We have known about the structures of injustice and inequity which express themselves in the harshest terms upon the communities we are called to serve. Even now, as we try our best to remain physically distant from one another, this crisis has revealed in the most explicit terms what we have always known — how intricately connected we all are.
With those reminders stands the promise of achieving more than we’ve previously imagined, and the hope of strengthening with unprecedented intention the culture and mechanisms which make true collaboration possible. We do this to fully meet the challenges of the present day, as well as to be strong enough, when the waters recede, to address the old wounds in our region which never really healed — the same wounds that have made this particular challenge so much more difficult and painful.
As we move between reflection and action, the Co.act Detroit team and I stand with Madhavi Reddy of Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), Shamyle Dobbs of Michigan Community Resources, Donna Murray-Brown of Michigan Nonprofit Association, and Yodit Mesfin-Johnson of NEW: Solutions for Nonprofits — in transformative solidarity, and in humble recognition of the unique role the nonprofit support systems we lead will continue to play in supporting nonprofit capacity, resilience and health through this crisis.
Together, we’re working to adapt to changing circumstances and to find new ways to bring together southeast Michigan’s nonprofit ecosystem to learn from one another and share resources. We’re working to model collaborative action not only with the nonprofit community, but also for the funding community. From our Collaborative, you can expect to receive information ranging from the impacts of federal legislation on the nonprofit community at large to resources, events and opportunities particular to southeast Michigan.
From Co.act Detroit, you can expect to see the same responsive programming and events we previously held in our space transformed into virtual offerings. We’ve delayed the deadline for Activate Fund grant applications, and we’ve modified the offerings in our Collaboration Pilot to better meet the needs of nonprofit collaboratives forming to meet this crisis. We’ve also expanded the Co.Lab Connect program, and transitioned to virtual appointments. Finally, we’re reintroducing our Self-Care Series as the Nonprofit Wellbeing series, with more regular programming designed to emphasize that self-care is a communal act, and one which has perhaps never been as vital as now, as we as a community are called to respond to an unprecedented challenge.
We’re also looking to you, as always, for inspiration. We welcome your stories of resilience and compassion, your questions about the dynamic changes affecting our region, and your needs as organizations and individuals.