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One Year Later

One Year Later

Chapter Leadership Brief 3.12.2021

By Jill Scibilia, CFRE, AFP-NYC President-Elect
Vice President, Development
Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health 

March 11, 2021 was the one-year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was a global pandemic.

I will never forget those early days of the pandemic.  There was an energy fueled by a mix of adrenaline, courage, fear, grit and heart—especially heart.  There are a few moments that will always stand out to me from those days.

First…On my drive to the hospital where I work, I realized my car was the only one on what was suddenly an eerily quiet road.  

Next…Words from frontline colleagues in the hospital shortly after non-essential workers were asked to stay home and work remotely…“I’m frightened, but I’m here,” one said to me.  Another said, “I cry every day, but I’m here.”  

Then…the first Pivot…Hearing how these courageous colleagues were coming to work despite their fear and despite their sadness over what they were facing caring for patients still brings chills to me.  This was when I knew we needed to pivot our fundraising efforts to focus on the COVID-19 response.  I needed to share the stories of these colleagues with a boldness that matched their bravery. 

It has been and continues to be a great honor to work along-side them and share their stories with our community.  The pivot was just the first in a series of a year of “pivots,” which will undoubtedly continue. 

Do you remember when you first understood the significance of COVID-19?  What are the lessons you learned over the past year?  What changed for you?  What is still an unknown?

Our sector has had to pivot and innovate. We are grappling with what will be a temporary changes versus permanent ones.  We are seeking to address these very questions at AFP-NYC.  If you are not already engaged in AFP-NYC, I want to encourage you to get involved and add your voice to the conversation.  AFP-NYC helps to convene our community to help us address these questions and share best practices while we make connections and support one another.

Wondering how you might become engaged?  Here are two immediate suggestions:

  1. Join us next Wednesday, March 17th for “Stewardship Ideas in the COVID age.”  Click here to learn more and register. 
  2. Registration is now open for PhilanthroCon a two-day virtual event that will give you the opportunity to build relationships and connections with professionals from across the country and world. Remember, virtual means we are not limited by geography.  Click here to register.  

I believe we are still very much in the midst of this crisis and have yet to fully understand what our new normal will be.  I also know that our work as professional fundraisers has never been more important or needed than today. Philanthropy has the power to make the world a better place. Our missions and all those we serve are counting on us to help facilitate this. 

Thank you for your leadership and commitment to professional fundraising—and for all you do to make the world a better place.

With gratitude,



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