We all know 2020 was a year of challenge and crisis, but as I reviewed Harvest’s 2020 Annual Report, it struck me how much we were able to accomplish in the midst of so much crisis. As you will read, while we worked to meet immediate needs of our community amid the pandemic, we also continued to make progress building affordable housing, investing in community development initiatives, supporting art programs and helping to implement necessary technical infrastructure.
2020 was also the year, the Harvest team became dedicated students of equity. Last Fall, we began a new journey, working to understand how equity, diversity and inclusion affect not only ourselves individually, but also how it influences our grantmaking policies, practices, and work in the Martinsville-Henry County Community. Over the past five months, we immersed ourselves in equity discussions, conducted internal assessments and actively participated in education classes and training. We built a shared language and understanding of historical moments that resulted in the very disparities we see today. Now it is time to put our learning into action.
Moving forward, we will apply an equity lens to all our work. This not only means some changes for us internally, but you will also see differences in our approach externally. These include:
- Harvest Foundation Grant Application Process:
- The grant cycle timing will be more flexible—meaning organizations can apply for funding throughout the year, allowing them to both better address current and immediate needs, as well as capitalize on matching funding opportunities.
- The grant application itself will be simpler, better allowing smaller organizations to access Harvest resources and support.
- Grant applications and sponsorship requests will need to include new information–to better foster equity and collaborations, we will be asking you to provide details about diversity in your organization, as well as the target population you serve.
- Increased Community Conversation:
- To truly be equitable, we need every voice in our community at the table. To do that, we want to be a catalyst for conversation. By sharing experiences, we can increase understanding and trust in each other, ultimately empowering us to build the thriving community in MHC we want for ourselves and neighbors. In the coming months, we will be reaching out to hear from you, but in the meantime, we encourage everyone to reach out and share your thoughts.
I along, with the entire Harvest team continue to find inspiration in our community’s successes and learnings and know we cannot do it alone. We need to hear your voices and ideas —along with a spirit of collaboration that benefits us all. The team at Harvest remains committed to realizing our vision of a robust Martinsville-Henry County where EVERYONE has an opportunity to participate and thrive. We hope you join us.