Like most of you, 2020 was not the year we were anticipating it to be. 2019 was a benchmark year for all of us at NeighborLink: we had undergone deep, foundational work on an operational level; completed a major research project (What Makes a Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy?) that was supposed to fuel a year of transitional neighborhood work; we had our highest number of completed projects for any year on record (1,392); we were optimistic that our momentum would carry us beyond the 1,500 completed projects mark in 2020; we also believed that our much-deliberated plans for the future of NeighborLinkwere as stable as ever. But when March arrived, many of our goals were tabled so we could be present for the neighbors who would soon be calling, the volunteers who would surely respond, and to our community partners who have always stood beside us. COVID impacted all of us in ways that we were just not ready for.
COVID has certainly proven the following lesson to be true: that we are all just a few choices or life circumstances away from needing help. This constant truth is present year after year, but never as much as this one. We've heard countless stories of individuals entangled by unforeseen circumstances that left them vulnerable in the midst of big plans, great visions, and apparent stability; we've seen how minor choices can impact the certainty of life???no matter how much planning or good intentions light the way; we???ve stood beside neighbors, who struggle against injustice and desperately want to overcome, but know the system works against them. Each scenario reminds us how valuable our families, neighbors, social circles, and faith communities are.
I believe that NeighborLink has been able to weather the storm of this unforeseen year because of our commitment to follow Jesus into the margins; to be present and proximate to the vulnerabilities, our neighbors, and City. We have learned how to be comfortable with discomfort, and understand that some problems have no immediate or easy solution. Our entire life as an organization has been spent in the service of the isolated, lonely, and marginalized. Being a small, grassroots organization, we are committed to run as operationally-lean as possible. This allows us to serve from whatever abundance we may have, knowing that our resources could vanish at any time. Therefore, we must always be stewards of the Lord's blessings to the best of our abilities. Thankfully, we've learned how altruistically-driven our team is by the attitudes, work-ethic, and stamina each one has displayed in this year among years. On top of all that, we have some of the most incredible volunteers and supporters who have graciously continued to invest in our mission, allowing us to remain financially stable. At the end of the day, we are a community; and that has kept us strong.
We invite you to review our FY2019-2020 Annual Report to learn more about this work and how we're navigating the complexities for our neighbors. If you would like a printed copy mailed to your home, we'd love to do that. Simply send an email with your mailing information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get one in the mail.