The pandemic means that we have all had to adjust to the “new normal.” Is it reasonable to expect that when the coronavirus is “over,” whenever that will be, that we will somehow return to a life that isn’t “touchless?” We have all used touchless keypads, telemedicine, GoTo meetings, Zoom birthday parties, deliverable groceries, pick up food and anything that Amazon can put on a door step. We have come to expect more socially distant services. The truth of this pandemic is that we have, and likely will continue to be, a society that values everything we can do without making contact or touching anyone else.

Until …

It comes to human services, which by its very name, implies touch, service and compassion. Never before have our community nonprofit organizations — who specialize in human services — been so challenged and stretched to provide the very human services that many so desperately need in the current environment. Nonprofits are adjusting and learning to adapt to the pandemic by providing services at the core of their missions.

One of those nonprofits is the Golden Heart Community Foundation, whose mission is to build a lasting endowment with community donations to support causes that Interior Alaskans care about. The GHCF is the “savings account” for charitable causes and community needs. Our community foundation, which is an affiliate of the Alaska Community Foundation, has an endowment fund of over $650,000, that earns enough money to make over $20,000 worth of grants each year to help support our community and nonprofits. Because of the GHCF’s affiliation with ACF, we also have had over $325,000 worth of Rasmuson Foundation support flow into our endowment and add additional grant funds to distribute to the community.

When the pandemic hit, the GHCF was able to immediately make grants to help Alaskans most in need — $5,000 each — to the Senior Center and the No Limits Warming Shelter. The GHCF believed these two organizations serve two populations who are severely impacted by COVID-19. Thanks to the Rasmuson Foundation and ACF, GHCF received $10,000 more for our community and made a $5,000 grant to the Food Bank Bone Builders Program to feed children this summer, $4,000 to the Salvation Army for coronavirus response and $1,000 to FMH’s program to educate businesses on how to safely reopen in a coronavirus world.

Fairbanks is filled with caring nonprofits who we rely on to fill in gaps and provide services to Fairbanksans most in need. GHCF works with those organizations to provide help and financial assistance so that they can adapt to meet needs even if those services have to be provided 6 feet apart.

In the future it is likely that we will see more changes in our nonprofit community, some of whom may not survive the challenges that the pandemic has caused. As a community, we need to support those organizations whose missions are vital to so many. We hope you will join the GHCF in its efforts to support those organizations and nonprofits on the front line of helping our fellow citizens who need our financial support the most. In the coming months, the GHCF plans to highlight, through various media outlets, those organizations that provide the human touch for our community members the most, even in a touchless society. 

Note from Charlie Dexter: When it comes to supporting the non-profit Golden Heart Community Foundation since its inception, I have been honored to put my money where my mouth is.