As of today, there hasn’t been a case confirmed within the United States for the Omicron COVID-19 variant, but it’s clear that it’s a matter of time. What this means for us as a country and sector is unclear, but it’s worth noting that the anticipation of the unknown is starting to become a constant.
A year ago this time, we were all eagerly awaiting access to a vaccine with promise to eradicate this virus. We knew there would be challenges with vaccine hesitancy and access, and as leaders of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, many of us were prepared to do what we could to break down barriers and get as many people vaccinated as possible.
Without question, most of us felt a great deal of hope moving from 2020 to 2021. Now, as we approach the end the year and set our sights to the next, we find ourselves hoping for the same. Will we get closer to a fully vaccinated nation in 2022? Will the vaccine be as effective against Omicron? Are large in-person events and filled offices a thing of the past?
We have a lot of unanswered questions, but one thing worth reflecting on is this: we have never had a starker example of how humanity is truly interconnected.
At Independent Sector, where our north star goal over the last few years has been to ensure all people in the U.S. thrive, we must acknowledge the reality that people in this country cannot possibly fully thrive without our global family, particularly those in the global south, also thriving.
We may focus – and rightfully so – on the people within the borders of this nation, under the laws and policies that govern us, however, we can never be content in thinking that our general place of privilege around things like vaccine access means we are safe. The virus has no regard for borders, laws, or policies. Inequities outside of the United States will surely exasperate inequities inside our country.
If your organization does work internationally, this is a relevant and already active conversation among your leadership teams. But even those of us who work nationally may need to think differently about any in-person events planned for next year, the travel policies we thought we could reinstate, or the move back to the office.
The vaccine is still our greatest defense and precautions are now part of our usual routine, but know that we at Independent Sector work alongside you in determining what pivots or changes we may need. I’d also encourage all leaders, particularly funders, to give support and flexibility in time and resources for organizations and communities to adequately address our constantly changing world.
Our shared mission to ensure all people thrive is a lofty one, but one we must believe is possible in order to do the work we do every day.
Independent Sector aims to build and sustain a community of changemakers like you who see all the challenges ahead, and with focus and hope, still do the work each day to make our world a better place. A new variant won’t change that, but we also stand ready to work beside you as we pick up whatever challenges come our way next.