May 18, 2020
A Note from Megan Karch, CEO
Two months into this pandemic, I am greatly missing seeing so many of you and thinking often about the safety and well-being of this community. These are incredibly difficult times and while we’re all experiencing the effects of COVID-19, we’re each experiencing them in different ways and to different degrees. Which has made it all the more touching how many of you have reached out asking how IslandWood is doing. Thank you so much for holding us close in your thoughts. For those of you I haven’t been able to connect with directly, I wanted to share an update about what’s happening at IslandWood.
Like virtually all organizations, we are in a challenging position and have had to make hard decisions. All of our school programs, weddings, conferences, and in-person community events have been cancelled until it is safe to gather again. We also cancelled Dinner in the Woods, our annual fundraising event. Without school programs or the ability to host events, most of our revenue has disappeared. As a result, we made the very painful decision to furlough 60% of our staff.
We anticipate that like many other organizations, we’ll feel the effects of this crisis for the next 18 – 24 months and have made multiple financial plans based on that assumption. We were very fortunate to receive approval of our federal Payroll Protection Program application. While the 8 weeks of funding doesn’t come close to filling our large financial gap, it is helpful in allowing us to move more quickly in reimagining our future programs. Over the next month, our board of directors and staff will be working on detailed plans for how our programming will evolve and we’ll share those with you just as soon as they are ready. While the next two years will not be easy, we are confident in our ability to innovate, persevere, and make the critical decisions that will enable us to continue to serve our community long into the future.
Our staff have made the switch to creating digital learning environments without trepidation, driven by their unwavering commitment to delivering programs and supporting students, teachers and our community members. This has included working directly with elementary teachers to help create science lessons students can do at home, as well as providing free virtual professional development workshops; continuing to run our graduate program remotely; and creating ways for our community to keep learning about the world around them through a variety of offerings.
While much remains uncertain, I know that the need for quality environmental education is crucial for the future of our communities and the planet. For many of us, especially during this time, nature has provided respite, solace, and rejuvenation. We must continue to inspire the care and protection of the world that surrounds us. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has recently donated to our campaign to Keep IslandWood Strong. We are incredibly grateful. As a reminder, all gifts made by May 31st over $100 will be doubled and all gifts over $1,000 will be tripled by a donor match. If you’re able to help, we really appreciate it.
I look forward to sharing more updates with you in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected]. It is a highlight to hear from you!
Sending my best to you and your loved ones,