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The Disruptors

The Hub Newsletter

“This Is the House That Jack Built” isn’t really about Jack or Jack’s house. The popular British nursery rhyme is a cumulative tale that shows how the two are indirectly linked to other things and other people:

The rooster that crowed in the morn
That woke the judge all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn

And so on and so on—until we inevitably get back to Jack. This year’s pandemic is like a cumulative tale. You can’t isolate one problem, fix it, and move on. Everything is too closely connected. Schools close. Children go home. Parents can’t work. They can’t pay the rent to—you guessed it—stay in the house that Jack built.

Right now, the needs are still great. In the community. In the nonprofit sector. For the past seven months, these organizations have had to accelerate services to respond to the unprecedented demand for assistance. They’ve also had to radically adjust their infrastructures—programming models, staffing needs, volunteer support, and service delivery methods—while implementing and adhering to the strictest of health protocols.

My last column, Cliffs Notes, focused on how The Cape Cod Foundation was helping our community navigate through the pandemic by assessing community needs, leveraging partnerships, and mobilizing, building, and deploying resources. To date, we have raised more than $1.5 million for our Strategic Emergency Response Fund and deployed $1.2 million to more than 40 nonprofit organizations serving the needs of Cape Cod residents.

Here’s a snapshot of how we’re helping nonprofits respond to the cumulative impact of the pandemic and a brief look at the Foundation’s strategy moving forward.

ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
Our economy hinges on tourism and hospitality. Even in “ordinary” times, many year-round residents work multiple jobs to stay afloat and rely on the income they earn during the busy summer months to sustain them the rest of the year. Now, after three muted seasons of tourism critical to our economy, many residents are still facing furloughs, reduced hours, pay reductions, and full unemployment. Earlier this spring, local food pantries and food programs noted 100%-300% increases in access. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, one in ten Cape Cod residents was food insecure before the pandemic. Current data indicates this number will increase 59%-70% as a direct result of the pandemic. In short, this health crisis has further devastated residents who were already living paycheck to paycheck and impacted those who have never needed help before.

BASIC HUMAN NEEDS
Almost 66% of the funds we have deployed so far support very basic human needs: food, housing, and other emergency assistance. With your support, we’ve helped fund food pantries and food delivery programs across the Cape. We’ve helped local residents pay their rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills, auto loans, and insurance premiums. We’ve also supported childcare programs for essential workers and helped provide personal protection equipment to keep people healthy and safe.

Food and Basic Needs 65.8%
Programs for Adults with Disabilities 15.4%
Childcare for Essential Workers 6.0%
Mental & Behavioral Health 4.3%
Healthcare 3.4%
Programs & Services for Vulnerable Populations 3.4%
Community and Economic Development 1.7%

ON THE FRONT LINE: A PARTIAL LIST OF GRANTS TO NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

YMCA Cape Cod: To support childcare for essential workers
One of the earliest grants we awarded was to YMCA Cape Cod to help provide free childcare to essential workers. While the organization has a long history of providing childcare, it needed to create a new delivery model to keep children, families, and its staff safe. In the first eight weeks of the pandemic, the drop-in style programming served over 750 clients, providing a vital lifeline for essential workers and the community that depends on them.

Elder Services of Cape Cod: To support its Meals-On-Wheels Program
During the initial months of the pandemic, Elder Services of Cape Cod received a 16% increase in requests for its Meals-on-Wheels service. It not only had to meet the increased demand, it also had to purchase 5,000 shelf-stable and frozen meals to have on hand in case the health crisis caused a disruption in service from its regular suppliers. Ironically, since the majority of its 1,260 volunteers are over age 60 and in the same high-risk health category as the seniors they serve, the organization also needed to figure out how to fill its diminished delivery force. In time, they recruited more than 100 out-of-work teachers to help.

Fishing Partnership Support Services: To support local fishermen and fishing families
Restaurant closings caused a ripple effect across the Cape. Decreased demand, historically low prices and fluctuating fish markets made our fishing families vulnerable—especially those in aquaculture and shellfish sectors, who have been largely unable to access federal and/or state support. Fishing Partnership Support Services, founded in 1997, brings critical support services and programs to more than 20,000 New England fishing families. Through the great efforts of Navigators engrained in the local fishing community on Cape Cod, almost 100 Cape Cod fishermen and fishing families received financial assistance for food, rent, utilities, and other basic needs with the funds from the Foundation’s grant.

Cape Kid Meals: To provide weekend bags of food for local children and families
While free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs serve children during the school week, what happens on the weekends when they do not have access to these programs? Enter Cape Kid Meals. The nonprofit has been providing backpacks of food to children across Cape Cod since 2014. And, since the onset of the pandemic, it has worked closely with its 26 school partners, as well as other community organizations, to expand access to its program. From March-June, the nonprofit collaborated with meal distribution sites at various schools across the Cape and enlisted an army of volunteers to help deliver food bags to families that could not pick them up. It also expanded its reach by delivering “family bags” to help other members of the enrolled child’s family. And, for the first time ever, the program operated throughout the summer and helped fill the gap when other summer food service programs shut down and school-year programs began. Over the past seven months, Cape Kid Meals has served thousands of local children and families.

Cape Cod Council of Churches: To support the Faith Family Kitchen and Cape Cod Family Table Collaborative
There are many food pantries and mobile food programs responding to the increased demand across the region by providing the ingredients to make nutritious meals at home. The Cape Cod Family Table Collaborative was established during the pandemic to provide healthy, fully prepared meals to under-served populations. Hundreds of individuals and/or families have been served each night the program operates through a unique partnership with the Cape Cod Culinary Incubator, the American Culinary Federation of Cape Cod, Jeni’s Joy, the Cape Codder Resort & Spa, a private summer camp, and supportive business owners with box trucks. The Foundation also awarded a grant to the Council to support its Faith Family Kitchen, which shifted from its traditional congregate meal program to a safe “grab-and-go” program for residents in need.

Cape Abilities: To Support Additional Staff and Programming for Round-the Clock Resident Care
Because of the pandemic, The Cape Abilities team had to quickly convert its staffing model. The organization increased staff hours to provide round the clock care for 130 residents living in supervised homes and created remote educational and “social” activities to engage residents who could no longer go to work or attend day programs during quarantine.

Catholic Social Services: To provide emergency assistance to immigrants and immigrant families
At the onset of the pandemic, Catholic Social Services quickly utilized its existing relationships and connections on Cape Cod to identify and provide support for hundreds of local immigrants and immigrant families in need. Many were unable to access other COVID-19 relief assistance programs.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Cape Cod & The Islands: To support an increase in support calls
As people tried to cope with the difficulties of the pandemic, the number of calls for support to NAMI nearly tripled. As a result, the nonprofit required additional staff hours to respond in a timely manner. Many of the calls are from parents of young adults (18-29) who are having a very hard time adjusting to pandemic life. Some of these young people have shown signs of mental health issues in the past; the uncertainties of the pandemic have brought them to the forefront.
The Foundation also awarded grants to other organizations caring for vulnerable populations, such as Independence House, Duffy Health Center, Latham Centers, Inc., Community Connections, and the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center.

NEXT STEPS: RESPOND. REIMAGINE. REBUILD.
There have been many other success stories over the past seven months. In the tough days and months ahead, our nonprofit organizations will continue to work to provide a safety net for thousands of Cape Codders in need. And the Foundation will continue to actively build and deploy resources to respond to those needs. At the same time, we’re looking farther ahead. We’re about to launch several new initiatives to help reimagine and rebuild our communities. For good. Stay tuned.

PS: Author Freeman Ng has written an optimistic cumulative tale about sheltering in place during the pandemic. If you’re so inclined for a new rhyme, view a narrated video or download the free picture book for children.

 

 

BECOME A CAPE COD FOUNDATION COMMUNITY PARTNER
Your gift supports the stewardship of The Cape Cod Foundation Strategic Emergency Response Fund and our ongoing Civic Leadership initiatives throughout the region.  In addition to strategic grantmaking, we invest in nonprofit education and leadership development opportunities, partnerships with broad regional impact, and projects that bring vital, shared resources to our nonprofit community. Follow our initiatives and achievements in our newsletter. 

SUPPORT THE CAPE COD FOUNDATION STRATEGIC EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND
Your gift supports the continued operation of local nonprofit organizations as they address the immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health, economy, and vitality of Cape Cod.  For updates on this initiative, CLICK HERE.

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Previous Columns

 

CLIFFS NOTES
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
In 1958, a Nebraska bookworm borrowed $4,000 from the local bank to print a series of literature study guides. His name was Clifton Hillegass. To his surprise, his little black and yellow books quickly became the hottest resource for studious, time-crunched, and (sometimes) lazy students tasked with reading the literary giants. Within 10 years, this somewhat boring basement venture became a million-dollar business: Cliff’s Notes. Today, CliffsNotes™ is part of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt global learning company.  And it’s probably worth billions….most huge works could benefit from a concise companion guide—even The Cape Cod Foundation. READ

THE DISRUPTORS
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
Every year, CNBC releases a list of 50 private companies who are revolutionizing their industries, unseating corporate giants, and banking billions. These feisty, forward-thinking startups—like Airbnb, Peloton, Rent the Runway, and Door Dash—have seriously shaken things up. They’ve made it possible for us to vacation in private castles, live-stream boot camp workouts, rent $1200 Christian Siriano dresses for $150, and have steamy little cases of White Castle burgers delivered right to our front doors. They’re called the Disruptors. By making waves, these companies are making a difference. By changing the rules, they’re changing the way we think, the way we act, and the way we live. They’re creating a new frenzy of followers across every single industry. Including ours. READ

GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
I grew up playing Ghost in the Graveyard. Think of it as a giant game of tag with dozens of neighborhood kids. Keep in mind, this wasn’t a Halloween thing. It was a daily-never-get-tired-of thing. And, because the boundaries for the game crossed multiple blocks (Remember the good old days when kids could roam?), the moms had trouble keeping track of us. So, they developed a calling tree. When my mom was looking for me, she’d push-button her way down the phone list until she found a mom who knew where we had all drifted to tag me to come home. READ

THE MIX MASTER
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
I’m a Mixmaster. Have been since the ‘80s. And lately, my “Country-Boy-Road-Warrior” mix is the only thing blasting through the car speakers: Life is a Highway, Every Mile a Memory, Red Dirt Road and Dirt Road Anthem. I know every skip, crackle, and pause on this well-used mix, because after a quick daily touch-down at the office, Willy and I are inevitably On the Road Again. And, by the time October rolls around every year, I’m feeling a lot like a Johnny Cash song: I’ve Been Everywhere. While Foundation work hasn’t taken me to Fond du Lac, Little Rock, or any of the other 91 places fired off in rapid succession in this name-dropping ditty, it has taken me all over the Cape for Road Warrior Recon, reconnaissance missions with the movers and shakers in the region. READ

THE OPPORTUNISTS
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
Dear Optimist, Pessimist, and Realist,
–The Opportunist
While you were busy arguing about the glass of water, I drank it. 

While opportunists usually get a bad rap; this one got the last laugh. And that got me thinking. There’s nothing wrong with seizing opportunities. Carpe diem, so they say. It’s what Foundation work is all about—in a more altruistic kind of way. Our mission is to bring resources to our community. Period. End of story. Well, not really. We just added a new chapter. READ

THE GRIT FACTOR
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
It was my Junior year of high school, the Brown Invitational cross-country meet. I was never the fastest runner–usually number 7 or 8–so I straddled the JV and Varsity team. This time, the coach put me in the JV race, counting on me to place. The pressure was on. In the first quarter mile loop of these races, hundreds of runners are jam-packed together. At the start, one of them stepped on the back of my sneaker—and off it went. I was out in front, where I wanted to be, had to be. If I stopped for my shoe, I would fall back in the pack. So, I just kept running without it.  READ

ON TREND
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
Most kids fall into whatever fashion trend comes along.  As a child in the 80’s, I fell hard for my Madonna “Lucky Star” look: ripped sweatshirt, lacy fingerless gloves, an armful of jelly bracelets and a head full of hairspray. In middle school, I jumped permed-head first into pegged pants, rugby shirts and high-top Reeboks. And in high school, comfort was key: nothing but baggy flannel shirts, overalls, and a pair of Adidas slides. Today, I really couldn’t tell you if I’m fashion-forward or fashion-backward. Being “on-trend” isn’t high on my radar anymore.  At least fashion-wise.  Today, I follow philanthropic trends and can’t get enough of what businesses are doing.  For good.  READ

FRIDGE WORTHY
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
When I was in third grade, I had absolutely no idea how to spell scholarship, but I somehow managed to win one.  Everyone in my class had to write an essay, “Why I Love My Mother.”  I can’t remember what I wrote, but it was definitely fridge-worthy.  Back then, I’d do anything to earn a spot on the harvest gold door of our trusted, old Whirlpool.  It was the magnetized, centralized, optimized place for all kids’ achievements (and the weekly grocery list). READ

OUR ROARING TWENTIES
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
When they were in their twenties, Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, Thomas Edison made the first phone call, and a young Dane named Bohr published a theory of the atom which rocked the physics world.  When I was in my twenties, I started drinking coffee. I also learned that if you push hard enough, you really can get a sleeper sofa up the 5 narrow flights of stairs of a Beacon Hill apartment building.  The coffee probably helped.  READ

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
I’ve always loved the expression, “Where the rubber meets the road.” Until recently, I had no idea how or when that phrase originated. So, I did what all curious minds do. I googled it. Surprise. The idiom trail leads back to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and a TV commercial jingle from the mid-1960s.  READ

SUPERHEROES
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
Things my six-year-old has taught me: 1) Every song has a danceable beat; 2) the “H” on the Montreal Canadians uniforms stands for Hockey not Habitants–that stumped us; 3) Not all super heroes have superpowers.  I supposed I knew that one. Superman has super-human everything, and Batman without the suit is just Bruce Wayne.READ

SMART HOMES
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
Over the past 30 years, Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod has built 127 homes throughout the Cape. By the end of this year, 430 people will live in a Habitat Home. Thirty-four more homes are under construction or on the drawing board. Find out why we’re calling these “smart homes.”READ

THE HEART OF THE MATTER
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
In my last column, Beam me up, Scotty, I talked about the Foundation’s commitment to capacity-building. This isn’t just a passive buzz word. It’s an action verb. It’s a way to make our community stronger.  Find out how we’ve supported Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod​ and hear how this organization is making a big impact in our community.  READ

BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO

Full disclosure.  I’m not really a Trekkie or Trekker (whatever most Star Trek fans prefer to be called). But, I do admire Scotty (Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott), the chief engineer and “miracle worker” of the USS Enterprise.  It’s purely professional.  Let me explain. READ

THE HOUSE THAT BILL BUILT
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO

The house that Bill built took seven years to complete and cost $63 million. It has six kitchens, 24 bathrooms, and garage space for 23 cars. The pool house is bigger than my entire house. So is the gym (probably because of the trampoline). And, the reception hall is the perfect place for a plated dinner if you keep the guest list to 150. READ

NOTHING BUT BLUE SKIES
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO

New Year. New Resolution. I’m swearing off buzz words. Sunsetting them. Sending them straight over the bleeding edge. No more drilling down, reaching out or circling back.  No more pivoting, piggybacking or peeling back the layers of the onion. Our board is not the S.W.A.T. team, you are not stakeholders, and today’s agenda is not Mission Critical.  READ

END-OF-THE-YEAR APPEAL (AND  CONFESSION)
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO

I’ve had a serious crush since the 1980s. His name is Pac-Man. That neon-yellow, dot-gobbling character stole my heart the minute I powered up my first Commodore 64 computer. Pac and I spent hours together in his video maze, devouring dots and evading four murderous monsters: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. Together, we relentlessly pursued those flashing Power Pellets. These power-ups made us temporarily invulnerable so we could swallow up the enemy, earn bonus points, and advance to the next level of play. What a guy! WHAT. A. CONCEPT!  READ

WHAT’S YOUR GIVING STORY?
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO

My children are five and seven.  They already know I’m not a chef, an artist or an editor. Right now, I’m known for burnt pots, stick figure drawings and long, rambling life lessons. Some legacy, huh?  In time, though, what I hope they’ll remember me for is teaching them the value of giving. READ

MY HOME TOWN
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO

Some people think you can’t go home again. I don’t.  I grew up in Dennis. (Ok, I know.  It’s a very short trip, but that’s not the point of the story.) See, whenever I hang out in my home town, I get those warm and fuzzy feelings of childhood.  Although many things have definitely changed there over the years, my feelings haven’t.  Going home still gives me goosebumps. READ

GIFT GIVERS ANONYMOUS
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO

We’ve all had shocking self-revelations.  Mine came in my early thirties when I finally had to concede: I am a lousy gift-giver.  That long-delayed admission came one chilly Christmas Day when the presents I put under the tree received (yet again) an even chillier reception from my family members. When my mother said, “Really, honey, you shouldn’t have,” I finally heard it.  Really.  You.  Shouldn’t. Have. Ever. Again. READ

THE BLUE JEANS BLUES
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO
I have a serious love/hate relationship with blue jeans. LOVE wearing them. HATE shopping for them. But, when I had worn my Lucky Brand dark-washed, gently-whiskered, 5-pocket, zipper-fly, boot-cut besties way beyond respectability, I had no choice but to hit the mall. No biggie. Dash in. Dash out. A new pair of these made-for-me blues was a quick credit-card swipe away. Right? Wrong. READ

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
Recently, I had a surreal experience. It made me feel like I had walked out of my ordinary life and onto a television set. Not Game of Thrones or House of Cards. That might have been cool. No, I had landed on Sesame Street, PBS’s perky place for preschoolers. There was Bob (the affable music teacher who lives in an apartment above Hooper’s Store) and a handful of Muppets (no pun intended).  READ

WHAT I LEARNED FROM PRINCESS POPPY
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
I’m reluctant to admit it–and half-hoping you won’t believe it. One of my mentors is a troll–not one of those provocative-posting cyber trolls who purposefully disrupts online discussion groups. My superhero is a spunky little pink-haired, pink-skinned do-gooder named Princess Poppy. What’s more this pink paragon (who’s cooler than a pack of peppermints) sings! READ

YOU CAN’T PLAY HOCKEY IN HIGH HEELS
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
Last winter, I became a new mom: a hockey mom. Every week I raced out of the office to pick up my 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter for practice.  To be honest, I looked totally out of place in full business attire and seriously hoped there would never be a parental duty requiring me to skitter across the ice in 3-inch high heels.  READ

POWERING UP
KRISTIN O’MALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
I’m a runner. Not a fast runner. I like taking my time, going the distance. I run a few miles most mornings, step it up on the weekends and work in a half marathon every chance I get. Like most runners, I have a ritual. Breathe. Stretch. Repeat. I close my eyes, run the course in my mind, then release slowly, purposefully. READ

 

 

 

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