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Working Hard for our Community During the Pandemic

There is no argument that COVID-19 has drastically impacted our world, many people are now working from home, programs and events have been canceled, and nonprofits have struggled to find new ways to fundraise and keep money coming in to meet their mission.

The Crook County Foundation has been fortunate to continue conducting our business nearly un-interrupted in the current environment. About a year ago, we moved operations to my home office, which I was already working out of for my own business, making it an easy transition. It enables me to be continuously responsive to our community, partners, and board nearly 24/7. This made the ‘work from home’ order very simple to comply with and caused no disruption of work for our organization.

Our board embarked on utilizing Zoom virtual meetings. Many of our committees were working through new ideas and initiatives, so they were able to stay on track and progress from the comfort of their own homes. Here is a review of a few initiatives we are working on:

· Arts and Culture – we are encouraging Crook County artists, art venues, and art supporters to take part in the Central Oregon Arts & Cultural Alliance survey. The goal is to identify areas that each of our regional art organizations can work to expand services and provide programming for those involved with the arts. Due to the latest COVID-19 restrictions we are unable to hold Picnic in the Park this year but are already booking bands and making plans for next summer!

· Leadership – our committee is excited to bring back the former academy program, which will accept up to 30 people and take place every other week over a 9-month period. Due to COVID-19, the committee is reviewing the possibility of hosting this program virtual or partially virtual next year. In the meantime, the committee is building a new Facebook group page focused on sharing leadership advice, opportunities in the community, and learning experiences. There will also be a new virtual monthly leadership discussion forum. Starting each session with a recorded leadership lesson, the group will then discuss the topic with their peers and learn from each other.

· Paddy Pint – COVID-19 caused our 2020 run to be virtual, allowing anyone to participate when they had time. Our team is already working on a stronger plan for 2021 assuming that there will still be some restrictions and hesitation to gather in place. We want to keep the energy and the excitement of the event, while still allowing for social distancing if needed.

· Scholarships – ending the school year in a much different format didn’t stop us from presenting nearly $60,000 in scholarships to deserving students. We were excited to add several new scholarships this year and increase the dollar amounts of others. Our committee worked through a difficult selection process to reward those students who maintained their grades, community service hours, and engagement. We are always accepting new scholarships, so if your family or business would like to create a new account, we would be glad to discuss it with you.

· What’s Brewing – this program moved to a virtual online format which are posted on our website, Facebook page, and other community pages. We are conducting these in a short interview style format bringing the latest community news to you.

The Crook County Foundation has been able to maintain our progress on current and new programming regardless of what has been happening in the world around us recently. We appreciate the continued support and flexibility of our volunteers, supporters, donors and partners working with us to keep momentum. Our board and staff hope that you remain safe during this difficult and unique time.

For more information about the Crook County Foundation, or if you would like to support our efforts with a donation of time or money, please contact Brandi Ebner, Crook County Foundation Executive Director at 541-362-1210 or email

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