It goes without saying that the past 14 months have been unprecedented in our time.  Certainly, these have been some of the most challenging times we have faced personally, professionally, as a country and as a community.  Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the way we live, our health, and the health of family and loved ones, but the stress and tension of a highly contested and controversial election season along with the numerous incidents of violence against Black, Asian, and People of Color in our country have forced us as a society to face some difficult and uncomfortable truths. Historically, and even still, our BIPOC neighbors have not had access to opportunities due to centuries of oppression and policies designed to deny access; at worst, they have faced centuries of injustice, violence and death, simply for the color of their skin.

George Floyd, and countless others, should not have died. This week’s verdict was one example of our justice system doing what it is designed to do: deliver justice and accountability.   It’s an important moment, but it’s only a moment. What happens next and continues to happen will be what matters.

At Triangle Community Foundation, we are committed to creating a community where everyone has the resources to thrive.  This vision cannot be achieved until ALL members of the community are thriving.  We have spent the last year having challenging conversations about philanthropy, about our community, about our organization, and about how we can be better. The Foundation and our donors have invested over $2.5 million through our Fund for the Triangle, including funds for COVID relief, BIPOC -led organizations and student support toward college and career goals.  We’re taking steps to address inequities through our grant programs, our investments, and our policies, but we recognize that we still have work to do.

As the Triangle’s community foundation, we welcome a diversity of interests, ideas, and resources to make our region better. We have an obligation to serve our donors, our nonprofits, and our community to ensure that those resources are invested in ways that support our vision. As our region grows and changes, we realize that we must also’ be a vehicle for change.  We know we won’t always get it right, and we know we can’t do it alone, but we are committed to moving forward.  We encourage our stakeholders to reach out to us, hold us accountable and to seek solutions with us as we learn, grow, and change together.

In solidarity and community,

Lori O’Keefe

President and CEO, Triangle Community Foundation