“The tide went out and the rocks of inequality were exposed.”


  • Max King, CEO and President of Oregon Community Foundation
  • Katie Condit, Executive Director of Better Together


  • Anne George, Oregon Community Foundation

Katie and Max shared their insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shutdown impacted the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors. The immediate impact on virtually every nonprofit was astounding. Oregon Community Foundation granted over $20,000,000 to more than 700 nonprofits to help alleviate the loss of revenue combined with urgent demands on their programs.

Katie shared that the shutdown shined a bright spotlight on deep disparities already existing within the community. The existing gap in systems created roadblocks to information for non-English speakers, in addition to impacts on education and early childcare and development. During this time, nonprofits and community members demonstrated a remarkable ability to be nimble and adjust to meet urgent needs.

This extraordinary set of circumstances begs the question: Is getting back to normal going to be enough?

The answer: Normal is not OK for far too many people in our community.

Max shared his hope that following this experience, systems can be redesigned and improved to better address these disparities. Katie emphasized the importance of including and amplifying the voices of those with lived experiences within the exposed disparities in the process of rebuilding through human-centered design.

There are other viruses that plague the community that must also be addressed, including poverty, hunger, racism, and education.

For nonprofits, conservative financial management and reserves will be crucial to withstand future challenges. In the philanthropy sector, investments of unrestricted operating support are essential to the long-term health of community nonprofits and their ability to be innovative in achieving their missions.