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COVID-19 and Community Resilience

Dear Friends,

My colleagues and I hope you and those closest to you are healthy and doing well.

At ISC, we are focused on building community resilience in the face of a climate crisis, with a particular focus on vulnerable communities in the US and Asia. That resilience will surely be tested now as a new and unplanned crisis circles the globe. 

Low wealth communities never get a break from existential threats, and the impact of COVID-19 will likely be devastating.  Every day these communities deal with pollution and its environmental health impacts, poor sanitation and unsafe housing, minimal access to health care, unreliable communications, water, and energy infrastructure, and a dependence on small businesses and low wage jobs. Many of these challenges are due to discrimination and/or structural racism. 

Whether in response to COVID-19 or to climate change, communities are eager to respond and adapt, but they need better tools – institutions, networks, and resources — in order to be successful, especially in times of crisis. At ISC, we are committed to helping frontline organizations, communities, governments, and businesses work together to build resilience and better prepare for these challenges in order to benefit those most at risk. That planning and foresight lays the groundwork for a better, faster response in the event of a climate-related disruption, an economic shift, or even a global pandemic. For that reason, our mission has never been more important.       

That means that today, ISC is following CDC guidelines prioritizing the safety of our staff and partners while continuing our essential work. Our terrific donors have given us the flexibility to adjust our implementation schedules and strategies. The vast majority of our staff have worked in a distributed fashion for some time now. As a result, we already have considerable experience leveraging technology and virtual communications tools to manage our projects and have thankfully experienced limited disruptions to our programming and operations so far. 

Of course, we understand that we are still in the early stages of the health crisis and that the economic and social impacts will likely last for several months, if not years.  

We look forward to keeping you informed of our progress and sharing what we are learning along the way.  

We deeply appreciate your past partnership and continued support through this challenging time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out — in this time of social distancing, connecting with our community is more important than ever.

Warm wishes,

George Hamilton

President, Institute for Sustainable Communities