One of the great benefits in publishing a charity register and social datebook is the front-row seat we have when it comes to witnessing the wonderful acts of kindness and generosity ever-present in the Northeast Florida community. Never has this been more apparent than this year, when we, along with everyone in the country, faced unprecedented uncertainty and a rocky economy due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Although there has been a slight delay in the publication of the sixth edition of Circles – Social Datebook & Charity Register this year, we are thankful for your loyalty and faith as we diligently put this publication together, despite the setbacks. With its focus on the community’s altruistic nature, within its pages you will see that the nonprofit sector is alive and more essential than ever to the health and well-being of the citizens residing on the First Coast.
Like many others living in Northeast Florida, the staff at the Resident Community News Group has seen a new reality descend during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us originally believed the virus might only last a few months, but its impact has been felt far beyond the end of the calendar year. Bolstered by the support of a kind and generous base of donors, our region’s nonprofits and countless business leaders stepped in to ease the pain for the region’s most vulnerable.
In this year’s magazine we have chosen to shine light on those challenged with mental health issues and the nonprofits that seek to assist both the mentally ill and the caregivers that support them. We also wanted to focus on the organizations that assist veterans, those who have given so much to serve our country, such as Wounded Warriors, K9’s for Warriors, Mission United, The Fire Watch, and Five Star Veterans Center. Another unique story illustrates the differences between men and women and their approaches to philanthropy.
As in previous editions of Circles, you will find our sought-after charity register that provides a list of organizations that are working harder than ever to meet our city’s needs, especially in these unusual and historic times of COVID. Although the pandemic caused many of the dazzling events of the season to be canceled or held online, we found this to be the perfect opportunity to reflect back on vintage events through a photo spread in our datebook, which showcases the glittering galas of yesteryear.
Through it all, it is clear that members of Northeast Florida’s philanthropic community have discovered creative ways to shore up their missions through virtual fundraising, Zoom meetings, drive-through and outside events, all with an eye to keeping supporters safe through mask wearing, social distancing, and encouraging folks to congregate in much smaller groups. Our generous community has surely found creative ways to make better use of technology.
Although this year is one many would like to forget, there are many events and trials that help us to find the silver lining. There are countless positive takeaways from a turbulent 2020, as an overwhelming sense of renewal and survival triumph over seemingly impossible odds stacked against us.
We are grateful and humbled by the acts of kindness we have witnessed throughout the tumultuous months of COVID’s wrath. It is a gift to be able to share uplifting stories with readers via our newspapers, but more importantly, through this annual charity magazine. We are eternally grateful to all of those that stood up and supported the publication during a tough financial season.
We’re making history together, so it’s good to know we’ll be able to look back and realize our community healed as philanthropy took center stage, filling the gaps where private enterprise and government falls short.
Pamela & Seth Williams