2020. A year none of us will forget. It was full of hard and unexpected things, but there was also beauty to be found. Wendy Banks and Ella Fahrlander, reflect on the year:


At the onset of a global pandemic – full of fear and the unknown –our community rallied. We learned that a pandemic is better when we work together and support each other.  Creative public, private, and philanthropic partnerships became the norm rather than the exception.


Word of the year. 2020 was a year of learning to be more flexible and less attached. Meetings once held in the office were suddenly sprinkled with dogs barking at delivery trucks, children popping through, and kitchen backdrops. Pivot is a word we hope to not use in 2021, though we now know just how adaptable we can be.


Our team learned an immeasurable amount about grace, for both ourselves and for each other. We often had to pick ourselves – and each other – up and move forward. We learned a lot about finding great appreciation – and fun – in unexpected ways, such as vehicle caravans celebrating birthdays, retirements, and graduations. Though we are re-acquainting ourselves with life’s simple pleasures, we sure miss – and appreciate – the restaurants and businesses that serve our communities so well!


It is easy to feel isolated in a “normal” world, and the events of 2020 magnified those feelings. The year became an active effort of finding ways to connect, whether it be via zoom high school graduations, virtual happy hours, or paint and sip Christmas parties.


Even the best-laid plans sometimes go wrong, and in 2020 most every plan changed. We adapted to new communication styles, technology tools, work environments, and ways to connect. Slowing down, thinking through challenges, and supporting others became more important than ever before.

Above all, what we learned at the Foundation is that we are better, happier, and more effective when we’re working together as a team, even if it’s from afar.