One month ago, we were all navigating our lives as usual. Schools were open, we shook hands, went to work, and congregated at churches, community events, and social gatherings with friends and co-workers. Some people may have never even heard the word “pandemic.” In the month since, COVID-19 has changed our day-to-day lives in a way none of us have ever experienced before. Our community needs to adapt, to come together – while also distancing – and to draw on our psycho-social and economic reserves for resilience and wellness.
To do this, and to manage the massive economic, social, and psychological impacts of COVID-19, a philanthropic response is needed. In Orange County, Providence St. Joseph Health, a 51-hospital, $25 Billion health system, through the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund (SJCPF), is uniquely positioned to play a key role in that response.
SJCPF is the strategic arm that stretches beyond the traditional role of healthcare to explore innovative new ways to partner with others of goodwill while investing in transformational strategies in the communities we serve. SJCPF staff, seeing the impact of and response to COVID-19 in Seattle, recognized what other communities might soon be facing. Furthermore, in February of 2020, the SJCPF had released a broad study of the impacts of the 2017 Northern California wildfires, so they were well versed in the impacts of disasters on communities, local governments, funders, and organizations. The SJCPF brought that knowledge to meetings they convened with key local leaders and partners such as the Orange County Community Foundation and Charitable Ventures to discuss a potential response to COVID-2019 in Orange County.