As we approach the end of a historic 2020, I’m mindful that it is a year we will never forget. Together, we’ve experienced new challenges and growth opportunities in a “triple pandemic” of a global public health crisis, racial reckoning and economic instability. These times have required us to be more courageous, accountable and intentional about our love for our neighbors and ourselves.
This week marks month nine of telework at Mission Capital. The holiday season is upon us, as we continue to social distance while entering this season with a sense of anticipation, as our country awaits the distribution of a much–needed COVID-19 vaccine and new political leadership.
During this critical 2020 year I, along with the Mission Capital board and staff, have been able to witness the extraordinary efforts of Leaders, Organizations and Networks advancing equity and opportunity in Central Texas through their work:
We applaud the work of many social justice organizations who, under trying circumstances, continued to advocate for voting rights and the preservation of democracy by innovatively conducting grassroots voter education and digital outreach to ensure that Texans had a voice, while safeguarding public health. Kudos to Jolt Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project, Every Texan, and Youthrise Texas for their voter mobilization efforts during this high-stakes election cycle to ensure diverse voices were heard and counted.
Mission Capital was honored to collaborate with nonprofit, government and private sector partners this year to shine a spotlight on the Digital Equity & Inclusion Needs in Central Texas, during the pandemic. This Fall, we co-hosted a series of convenings with dozens of community partners to highlight community needs related to technology infrastructure, tech literacy and digital inclusion, to ensure all Central Texans have access to resources for education, workforce and health needs.
Moreover, during this year of “racial reckoning” we’ve responded with new program offerings, including an Implicit Bias Learning Circle, and equity capacity building with nonprofit organizations seeking to center racial equity in their work.
We’ve also been deepening our commitments to BIPOC led organizations and are honored to serve as a founding charter member of the Central Texas Race Equity Collaborative. Led by Interim Executive Director, Dr. Kazique Prince, the CTREC is focused on operationalizing the recommendations from the Mayor’s Taskforce on Institutional and Systemic Racism in Austin.
As 2020 draws to a close, I am humbled by all the ways the Mission Capital team and our partners have responded to the dramatic events of this year. Our 2020 guiding question has been, “how can we help nonprofits and funders make wise, equitable decisions that prioritize community need and sustainability in this moment?”
Mission Capital “leaned in” to our role as a social sector hub as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, deeply listening to local communities and our constituents to better understand what they needed – and how Mission Capital could contribute. Thanks to our funders and partners, we pivoted our services to virtual, collaboratively collected data that was activated by funders in the form of flexible general operating funds and relief funds for the nonprofit sector. We convened and created spaces for nonprofit and funder peers to share “real time” insights, ask questions and grapple with tough decisions, together. See our 2020 Impact Report here.
As I reflect on this moment in time, I can’t help but think of the late, great Congressman John Lewis, national and civil rights leader, who died July 17, 2020. Below is a quote from an essay he wrote for the New York Times, which he intended to be published on the day of his funeral this past summer:
“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”
– Congressman John Robert Lewis, 2020
Mission Capital stands committed to continuing to evolve our work to face these unprecedented challenges and opportunities in 2021 and beyond.