Message from the CEO

Kelly Chopus (center, in blue) with the Robins Foundation staff.

Kelly Chopus (center, in blue) with the Robins Foundation staff.

If you are like me, you expected a little more from 2020. Turns out the most we could expect of the year was simply to hang on and make it until the end. New realities like the pandemic, economic downturn, uprisings and election politics took over any planning we imagined.

We expected 2020 to be a big deal for continued partnerships and collaborations and moving the community needle forward. It was.

Building on the community’s successes and achievements of 2019 felt like a tremendous opportunity, and we had incredible optimism that 2020 could be a year of excellence and achievement for the Richmond region. It was.

Robins Foundation and our peer funders, our nonprofit partners and our colleagues in the business community rallied to create a COVID -19 relief fund to sustain our nonprofit partners as well as a Family Crisis Fund to provide income to protect working families while they awaited federal government assistance. Many of us worked around the clock to develop solutions to the pain we were seeing. New partnerships were formed, veteran partnerships were enhanced. Our community rose to the occasion.

I will remember the year as one that forced us to look clearly at the systems and programs around us, and how those either served our neighbors or not.

We learned a great deal together as a board and staff, and we mobilized to use that learning to make grant decisions to keep our community strong. The pandemic highlighted for us that for many families just a few hundred dollars separates them from keeping or losing access to necessities, like food and shelter.

Our commitment to advocating and to using our resources to amplify the family voice increased. Despite the heartaches we received clarity – of what is important, where our time and efforts should be spent, and on letting go of things that do not matter in the grand scheme.

We learned that we can count on the incredible resilience of this community regardless of what faces us. As we ease into the new year, make sure you check in on those you love. Say hi to your neighbors. Share a smile with your mail carrier.

I will be thinking of you while I do the same.