One of my favorite stories – about children and tragedy, about the power of giving and volunteering, and about the calming encouragement of a mother’s wisdom – comes from the wonderful Fred Rogers. Fred often recalled that, when bad things happened, his mother encouraged him to “look for the helpers.” In any bad situation, she assured him, there are always helpers trying to make things better.

In this posting, I am looking for the helpers.

There is more going on in our communities – well covered in the media – about threats to our sense of community wellbeing than I can summarize here (and I’m sure I don’t need to repeat it for you). These threats begin as both natural and human tragedy. My moments of reassurance come when a family funder tells me about a grant or project they’ve launched to restore and reinvigorate community. Often, these are efforts to ameliorate suffering but also to get at root circumstances and causes.

If you have been part of conversations, projects or grants to address:

  • Loss and displacement by floods or fires;
  • Racial and religious tensions;
  • Civic relationships – especially with police and other first responders;  and/or
  • Other long-standing problems in your communities,

I would love to hear from you!

Send me an email, press clipping, link to a webpage, or video/audio clip – whichever communications strategy is easiest for you. We will compile the stories of recovery, reconciliation, and hopefulness. Next time a funder or community leader asks me what donor families are doing to help, I’ll have plenty of optimistic tales of the helpers.