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The Disruptors

The Hub Newsletter

 

Life’s full of gaps.  Historical gaps. Geographical gaps. Scientific gaps. Market gaps. Age gaps. Gender gaps.  Even credibility gaps. In the summer of 1969, a store loaded with Levi’s and LP records popped up in Ingleside, San Francisco to fill another gap–in the teen market. That Gap, short for “generation gap,” became one of the largest specialty retailers in the United States.

In community foundation work, we’re also focused on gaps.  These are the not-so-good gaps: UNMET NEEDS.  Our job is to bridge them, fill them, stop them. But first we need to identify them. And, there’s no handy Gap App for that.

Over the past year and a half, the need to expand access to essential programs and services, especially for vulnerable and underserved populations who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, has never been more apparent. When we created the Strategic Emergency Response Fund (SERF) in 2020, we started funneling resources to nonprofit organizations we had partnered with in the past, strong organizations throughout the region that could scale up and adapt quickly to meet a wide range of critical community needs: food, housing, utilities, childcare, healthcare.

Then we started looking for the gaps:
What parts of our community are not being well served? Why?

What are some of the barriers to access?

How can we be a stronger partner to help fill the gaps?

The answers are rarely simple or straight-forward. However, one proven avenue is to expand our partnerships and support organizations that are filling in the gaps.

EXPANDING PARTNERSHIPS
Catholic Social Services of Fall River provides programming and services on Cape Cod.  However, the organization traditionally focused its direct financial assistance program to immigrant clients at their off-Cape sites.  That changed at the outset of the pandemic.  When the need here became apparent, they used their existing partnerships and connections to quickly expand the program to the Cape and Islands. Because of their ability to adapt to meet the needs of our local community, they became a strong partner for COVID-19 relief funding.  Initially, we allocated $125,000 in SERF funding to this initiative.  Later, we allocated an additional $120,000 from a state funding source that focused on supporting historically underserved communities. To date, Catholic Social Services has provided direct financial assistance for food, housing, and other needs to over 950 individuals on Cape Cod.  Most of those who have benefitted do not qualify for federal assistance. Most have annual incomes between $15K-$25K. Most do not speak English or have limited language skills. Many recipients lost their jobs during the pandemic and were struggling to buy groceries and pay rent. These resources were literally a lifeline, and Catholic Social Services’ organizational agility made it possible for us, and others, to get them to the people who needed them most.

The Health Ministry, Inc. became another new ally in the Gap War. The Hyannis-based organization provides a myriad of free programs and services to more than 500 members of the Cape’s Brazilian community. Most of the households the Health Ministry serves do not speak English and do not have transportation, barriers that make it difficult for them to know what resources are available and, in turn, to access them. The Health Ministry works to bridge that gap. The Ministry has also ensured members receive accurate information about COVID-19, health protocols, and vaccinations. Because the organization supports itself entirely through private donations and fundraisers, the pandemic has impacted operating revenue dramatically. We allocated $15,000 in SERF funding to support their critical work during this challenging time.


FUNDING CAPACITY-BUILDING INITIATIVES
Forging new partnerships is one way to increase access and impact. Funding capacity-building initiatives to “build a better box” is another.  Our nonprofit leaders are equally “obsessed with the gaps” and look for ways to take their own organizations to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity. WE CAN is one of them.  We recently awarded this tried-and-true partner a $24,680 Targeted Capacity Building Grant to plan, implement, and execute a new hybrid (virtual and in-person) service delivery model for their legal, work support, and financial empowerment programs for low-and moderate-income women. The hybrid model will reduce waitlists for high demand programs and internal capacity strains. It will also allow participants to navigate around work schedules, transportation, childcare, and other barriers to access.

ACTING STRATEGICALLY AND DELIBERATELY
In 2021, we have distributed $3.9 million in grants to nonprofits from all Foundation funds to date. This includes $1.2 million from our Strategic Emergency Response Fund for pandemic relief. We are a force to be reckoned with; we are also a work in progress. To increase and expand access to programs and services, especially for vulnerable and underserved populations across Cape Cod, we must continue to listen, learn, evolve, and act. These strategic and deliverable action steps include:

  • Forging and nurturing strong partnerships across the nonprofit sector.
  • Redefining what partnerships look like and acknowledging “one size” does not fit all.
  • Building partnerships based on trust, transparency, dialogue, and mutual learning.
  • Refining our grantmaking policies, practices, and applications to reduce barriers to access and deploy resources where they are needed the most.
  • Investing in nonprofit capacity-building initiatives that expand impact.

Our final action step is to share what we learn with others. That’s what these columns and our virtual community forums are intended to do. Inform.  Inspire. Unite. Without a community of supporters, there are huge gaps in our work. Our work is driven by shared knowledge, shared visions, and shared actions. It is fueled with every resource we have at our disposal.  Naturally, this includes funding.  But money doesn’t solve problems.  People do.  Thank you for being one of them.

Kristin O’Malley
President and CEO
komalley@capecodfoundation.org

Previous Columns

THE BAND AID STORY
KRISTIN OMALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
MAY 2021

New Brunswick, New Jersey,1920. Newlywed Josephine Dickson loved married life. She did not love housekeeping. While trying to get dinner on the table every night, she’d inevitably cut or burn her hand or fingers in the process.  (I can totally relate, Josephine!) Back then, bandaging with cotton gauze and adhesive was a two-handed job.  The accident-prone Josephine was consistently short one.  After several weeks of kitchen mishaps, her husband, Earle, had an idea.  He placed squares of cotton gauze at intervals along an adhesive strip and covered them with crinoline.  Now, Josephine could easily cut the length she needed from the strip with one hand, wrap it over her latest wound, and still have a supply of bandages for the next day’s cooking disaster. It was a clever solution to an immediate problem.  And, when Earle took the idea to his bosses at Johnson and Johnson, this clever idea evolved into the indispensable adhesive wonder we all know today: the band-aid. READ

 

SOMEDAY STARTS NOW
KRISTIN OMALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
APRIL 2021

Some people just can’t take no for an answer. Bill Snow was one of them. John English, Don Foresman, Mary Morgan, Jim Rice, and Murray Rust weren’t any better at it. Many people told them Cape Cod didn’t need a community foundation and couldn’t sustain one. Someone even recommended they work with the bigger and better Boston Foundation. That didn’t go over well at all. So, the group said no to the naysayers and established The Community Foundation of Cape Cod, now known as The Cape Cod Foundation. READ

 

VERSION 32.0
KRISTIN OMALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
JANUARY 2021

Windows 10. iPhone 11. Nest 3. Garmin 7. Google Chrome 87.0.4280.88.Cheers to software versioning. Each upgrade has a new name or number so we can tell whether its hot off the assembly line or woefully obsolete. And each new version has enough improvements, innovations, (and hype) to get us excited about the next big thing. It’s time to take after the techies. It’s a new year. It’s an important year. This is Version 32.0, based on thirty-two years of experience and our very latest thinking. This is our new iteration, our “next big thing.” I want you to be excited about what we have accomplished and what we can accomplish together with even more power,
more connections, more grantmaking, and more collaborating in 2021. For our community’s sake.  READ

 

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
KRISTIN OMALLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO

“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.  READ

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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