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March 31, 2020
Thinking of you
 
The start of spring was supposed to be different. We were supposed to send our kids off to school; check in on our parents, grandparents, great grandparents; go into work and greet our colleagues face-to-face, perhaps have a breakfast meeting; or see a friend for lunch or coffee.

Instead, we are FaceTiming, Zoom meeting and burning up the phone lines. In all of it, there are those who are on the front lines of this battle against COVID-19, risking their own health and well-being to keep us all safe--and serve people more at risk.

We are grateful to all who are doing this important work, and take great comfort in knowing many of you are responding to emerging and evolving needs. Times like these demonstrate your resilience, and more than that, your commitment to community.

Our team, too, is hunkering down doing what we do. We will continue to be available on the phone and via email. Like all of you, we're adjusting to working from home and social distancing. Our focus is on supporting nonprofit organizations working to help our communities.

You should know we miss visiting your offices, participating in your events and celebrating your accomplishments in person. We know you're busy, but would love to hear how you are doing.
 
A last reflection. Planning is just that. Plans change. And amid those changes, we are committed to coming together and working hard during this global crisis, felt so strongly locally.
We are now living in a new way. My hope is that we continue to adjust, grant each other grace and remember we are not in this alone.

 - Nora, and the Tufts Health Plan Foundation board and team
Award honors Foundation's commitment to vibrant communities

So grateful to WalkBoston for recognizing the Foundation and Boston's Age Strong Commission with the Golden Shoe Award.

The awards " celebrate and reward those who have bettered the walking environment and who exemplify the ideals that guide WalkBoston." We were selected for "advancing age-friendly walking throughout Massachusetts."

Other honorees include:
  • Boston Public Library | Renovations that enhance walkability
  • Coalition for a Better Acre Walking Champions | Advocating for safer walking in Lowell
The awards will be presented some time later this year.

While based in Boston, WalkBoston works in towns and cities across the Commonwealth to make walking safer and easier to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities.
Uncertain times require funders to be flexible, responsive

In these tumultuous times, it is imperative we give community organizations room to respond quickly as community needs change.

Our team is giving flexibility on how to use the resources we have provided to all current grantees as well as those invited to submit proposals for our current grant cycle. We also suspended reporting requirements.

We hope these measures will support community-led efforts and improve response and recovery capacity.

UPDATE: We have joined major national philanthropic leaders in signing the Council on Philanthropy's pledge to "act with fierce urgency to support our nonprofit partners, as well as the people and communities hit hardest by the impacts of COVID-19."
Social distancing is real, but there are ways to connect

Many of us are self-quarantining, sheltering in place or simply recognizing that staying home helps everyone in our community. In doing that, we're starting to experience that sense of loneliness and social isolation that studies show many older people and younger people experience in their normal lives.
 
But "social distancing" (some call it "physical distancing") doesn't need to mean loss of social connection. We can also create a new type of community. Our friends at Changing the Narrative in Colorado put together this blog full of resources for staying connected, learning, volunteering virtually and more. Feel free to distribute to friends and/or older people who are involved with your programs and/or share on your social media pages.
21 organizations to receive first $500K of $1M committed by Foundation to address pressing needs in face of coronavirus
 
Tufts Health Plan Foundation has identified the first 21 organizations to receive support from the $1 million it has committed to community efforts on behalf of older people affected by coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

"This first wave of funding addresses one of the most pressing concerns facing older people-food insecurity," said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president and CEO. "These organizations are working on the front lines to meet critical needs and are well-positioned to respond to emerging priorities. Our communities depend on them, now more than ever."

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