By Haley Miller
Socially distanced and coffee in hand, members of the Noblesville Schools Education Foundation had an in-person meeting Sept. 3, their first since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March. Executive Director Adriann Young called it a “joyful” moment.
“You could tell by being together in person, our attitudes were lifted, our outlook was different,” Young said. “We were excited about things, and we know that the schools are doing the best they can and (are) really in a good place, so that helps us have a good attitude as well.”
Several Noblesville nonprofits and service clubs have started meeting in person again, but some still face the challenges resulting from months with little to no opportunities to fundraise. Events that normally would have been responsible for portions of their funding were no longer possible.
The Noblesville Schools Education Foundation was able to hold its largest fundraiser of the year, Miller Palooza, before the pandemic led to mass shutdowns, but many subsequent fundraising events had to be postponed or canceled.
“After that event, we’ve been almost completely dry with donations,” Young said. “Nothing has come in other than our normal annual giving.”
Instead of celebrating the Noblesville Schools teachers of the year in May like usual, Noblesville Education Foundation postponed the event to September.
Other organizations, like the Noblesville Lions Club, had to take a hiatus. The Lions Club suspended operations for three months because of difficulties transitioning virtually. But by conducting meetings in an outdoor shelter in Forest Park, members found a solution that satisfies COVID-19 health requirements and the desire to meet in person.
President Julia Kozicki said the club has some fundraising ideas planned and that members are eager to get back to helping the community and interacting with each other.
“We’re just happy to have an opportunity to be somewhat together again,” Kozicki said.
The Riverview Health Foundation’s experience throughout the pandemic has been high stress, Executive Director Megan Wiles said. However, she said hospital leadership has supported the staff well, and the difficulties have allowed Riverview Health to display what it is capable of and help families.
“There was a period of time where we were meeting on a daily basis to talk through, ‘OK, how do we adjust and prepare for this?’” Wiles said. “Fortunately, at Riverview Health, we were never overwhelmed with COVID patients.”
Wiles said the foundation set up a COVID-19 support fund for the community. In addition, it conducted several of its events virtually.
For the Noblesville Education Foundation, Young said that members have a “level of anxiety” about the pandemic, but they are still in a growth mindset. She said she expects fundraising for nonprofits across the board to look “different” and “creative.” However, many organizations will need to be conservative in their spending.
“For nonprofits in general, it’s going to be a hard couple of years, and being fiscally responsible is top of mind for us,” Young said. “But our creativity and growth will not stop because of the pandemic.”
Riverview Health Foundation’s Women of Vision virtual event a success
The Riverview Health Foundation’s Women of Vision event, originally scheduled for April, was conducted Aug. 27. Executive Director Megan Wiles said that despite the virtual setting, which wasn’t what the foundation anticipated, the event was still a success.
“We didn’t have the opportunity to gather together physically, but we still were able to gather people together virtually and had a great program with a wonderful speaker,” Wiles said.
Funds from the Women of Vision Giving Club are allocated to departments at Riverview Health that support women and children. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from Minda Dentler, the first female wheelchair athlete to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
“She had a pretty amazing story,” Wiles said.