It’s A Time To Be Grateful

Exasperating; concerning; divisive, uplifting, encouraging, hopeful; memorable. And the list goes on.

There are certainly many parts of this year we would rather forget. However, I’m focusing on so many others to be grateful for, those that give us pause as we close out 2020 and embark on 2021 with renewed hope about life resembling some form of normalcy again.

In late November 2019, the board of directors at the Cape and Islands United Way and I agreed we needed to create a fund to address emergencies that may arise in our community, allowing us to be responsive in the moment. The board voted to seed the Community Response Fund we created with $10,000.

Fast forward just 100 days and the pandemic hits. Never could I have imagined we would need to draw on this fund so quickly and face a major obstacle: we had not yet rolled out a fundraising plan. But as we all know, plans went out the window on or about March 17. 

Within six weeks of the outbreak, we raised well over $100,000 (and since have raised another $25,000). Everything raised here, stays here —  funding which immediately went to help with issues around food security, housing, child care – all exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact. 

The contributions from our donors made it possible for the Cape and Islands United Way to collaborate with other funders to make a meaningful and measurable impact during these challenging times. The work of the Cape and Islands United Way is needed now more than ever and our supporters make it possible.

I’ve been in constant awe this year by the generosity of so many individuals and businesses who have stepped up. We are truly inspired by the way the Cape and Islands communities have mobilized to take care of our family, neighbors and friends who may be struggling. 

So that’s what I choose to focus on as we close out 2020 and move the calendar pages to 2021. This has been an unprecedented year to be sure with too much loss and suffering, but it has also been a year of resiliency and gratitude.

Mark Skala is president and CEO of The Cape and Islands United Way., To learn more, go to