Dear Friends –
First and foremost, the Board of Directors and staff of 5 Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF) hope you and your families are doing well during this trying time.
We want to keep you updated on 5HF decisions. Our Board recognizes the work we do is critical to our communities, long-term. However, COVID-19 reset everyone’s priorities. For now, prevention of acute, not chronic disease, is the priority. Many of the organizations and individuals with whom we work, as well as our board members, are focused on immediate health and community welfare. 5 Healthy Towns Foundation is deferring to our communities’ new priorities, refocusing our efforts on facilitating connections between those providing for urgent needs and those who have urgent needs.
5 Healthy Towns Foundation is suspending coalition activity during the COVID-19 crisis. We can’t estimate how long it will be but are hopeful 60 days will assure everyone can reestablish a semblance of normalcy. We are suspending meetings, comprehensive wellness planning and reviews. Funding will be temporarily halted, except as described in the following paragraph.
5HF staff are going to contact the leads of critical and time sensitive interventions to determine if they need funding this April. If you are not contacted by Wednesday, April 1st, but feel funding for your interventions is required before June, please reach out to Matt or Ashley before April 10th.
In general, assume we will only approve interventions that may lose matching funds if not funded immediately. We will also fund interventions that require funding to meet a current contractual obligation. We anticipate all other grants will be considered in June, assuming we are able to reestablish usual routines.
The coalitions can anticipate our Board of Directors will resume approving plans in May, assuming our board meetings have resumed. This means the schedule for all plans, regardless of their stage of development or review, will be pushed back two months.
Foundation staff are working remotely, responding to emails. Although 5HF is working and every workday will be covered by someone, each of our hours have been reduced by half.
Much of the work you’ve done in the past is now part of the fabric that is available to serve the community in crisis. Grass Lake’s Senior Center folks are calling every member to assure they are okay and ask if there are any needs. Friends and families are practicing physical distancing while they walk, run or bike on paths and trails funded or maintained through your efforts. Mindfulness classes in Dexter will be available, live, to our community through Zoom (watch our facebook pages). All these things and more exist because of your hands and hearts.
Please know these suspensions are temporary. We want everyone to be focused on the task at hand. We hope you understand and appreciate your patience. There is plenty of time ahead to return to our important work and in fact, this sort of crisis highlights the need for building communities that support our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Matt and Ashley