To the Editor:

Hope is a thing with Feathers

That perches in the Soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all.

- Emily Dickinson

This week’s issue of TIME magazine is aptly titled, Finding Hope. In this special issue, a distinguished group of doctors, scientists, politicians, artists, athletes and entertainers share insights into how to navigate this new reality and offer solutions to the challenges that we must face together.

Here in our “All-America City” Valley, I have been deeply moved by the extraordinary acts of courage and compassion demonstrated by so many nonprofit organizations whose staff is working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this as a backdrop, I am pleased and proud to announce that your Chamber has joined with the Valley Community Foundation, Valley United Way and Valley Council of Health & Human Services in establishing the Valley Community COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Since its formation on March 20 with a seed grant of $20,000 from the Valley Community Foundation, nearly $175,000 has been raised thanks to the generous contributions of Valley businesses, residents, philanthropists and community leaders.

This week, the partners announced the first round of grant awards from this special fund totaling more than $75,000 to 18 critical service providers.

Ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, these grants are being used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) in our hospitals, clinics and senior care centers; stock the shelves at the Valley’s five food banks, and protect our first responders in the transport of our most vulnerable citizens. A second round of grant funding is now open and will include eligibility for organizations implementing online programming and services that support the well-being of Valley residents.

So many of our member businesses are already doing so much to support our Valley communities at a time when they, too, are struggling to maintain their operations. If you are able to make a gift to this special fund, we ask you to click here.

Special thanks to Sharon Closius, president, Valley Community Foundation; David Kennedy, interim executive director, Valley United Way; Valley Council Co-Chairs, David Morgan, president, TEAM, Inc. and Susan Agamy, executive director, Spooner House Emergency Shelter, and Valerie Knight-DiGangi, VCF program officer, for their extraordinary vision, compassion and leadership in making this fund possible.

Bill Purcell

Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce