Looking back on this year of resilience and resolve reminds us of how critical the bonds of community are.

Just when we felt as if the tunnel of the pandemic might open into the light, the road stretched onward to reveal a long journey ahead. Thankfully, the connections forged between nonprofits, donors and communities allowed our region to address its continued challenges head on.

Our grantees and many other local nonprofits persisted with compassionate responses and incredible collaborations. They stood up vaccine clinics that expanded access for marginalized communities disproportionately devastated by the pandemic, organized extreme weather shelters and mobile health services to keep our neighbors experiencing homelessness safer, and helped refugees from Afghanistan find stable footing in a new country.

Donors and funders also pressed on, finding new opportunities for engagement and giving. On the heels of a successful COVID-19 relief effort powered by donors at all levels, several partner funders joined in to help launch our Social Justice and Resiliency Fund. We also worked with fundholders on mission-related investments that expanded shelter capacity, spurred additional funding for grantees interrupting the cycle of poverty and encouraged operating support to build nonprofit capacity during the pandemic.

Overall, it was a challenging, transformative year — one that confirmed our world is markedly different. Through all the change, our team discovered new ways of serving and supporting our region that prioritize trust, responsiveness, inclusion, transparency and accountability. We’ll carry these learnings with us into 2022 and beyond, many of which shine through in the community-driven approaches shared here.

We are proud of the ways our work and partnerships have evolved, and we acknowledge the scale of effort needed to narrow the chasm of inequities exacerbated by the pandemic and to design systems that work for everyone. The only way we can accomplish these goals and bring about a better, more equitable southwest Washington is to continue finding ways forward together.