It is a strange experience to look back on our work from 2019 through the lens of our current reality. Our annual report’s theme, “Convening for the Common Good,” feels out of touch when you think about not being able to physically convene at all today. Yet, we still want to acknowledge the power of convening as a changemaking tool and the benefit it brings to our work. While it may not be how we’re functioning today, we opened our new convening center in 2019 with hopes of bringing people and groups together to learn, share, and strategize about how we can continue to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities most in need. In the short time that we had to break in the new seats, we believe it was adding substantial value to our mission, and hopefully for those of you that experienced it, yours too.
We’re living through a time of significant uncertainty and pain that has left no one unscathed. But it’s also important for us to keep perspective on the news that currently fills our screens and newspapers. While the COVID-19 pandemic itself is unprecedented in modern times, glaring health and racial inequities, a tattered safety net, and a health care system struggling under the weight, are all too familiar. In fact, these are all issues that the Foundation has been working to address for many years.
Eventually these times of physical distancing will be over, and we can reopen our doors even wider to the communities we’re fortunate enough to partner with. And when that day comes, it will come with the awareness that the issues that underlie our national crises will remain. It is our responsibility, now and in the future, to strive every day to catalyze change toward a healthier Missouri in which every community can offer a social, economic, and physical environment that provides opportunities to thrive and promote health and well-being for all.