Nonprofit Consortium of St. Croix (USVI)

by St. Croix Foundation for Community Development
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Nonprofit Consortium of St. Croix (USVI)
Nonprofit Consortium of St. Croix (USVI)
Nonprofit Consortium of St. Croix (USVI)
Thank you! The Consortium just celebrated 5 years!
Thank you! The Consortium just celebrated 5 years!

We did it! This September, St. Croix Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium celebrated five years of collective service, impact, and leadership in the U.S. Virgin Islands! Despite a protracted recovery from the 2017 hurricanes, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, since our first table conversations with 50+ local nonprofits back in 2016, the Consortium has evolved into one of the Foundation’s most important investments and a vital Community Asset. Through intentional collaboration around missions, programming, advocacy, and fundraising, the members of the Consortium have built dynamic relationships, enduring national partnerships, and organizational and cross-sector capacity to serve and give voice to the People most vulnerable and hardest hit by ongoing crises.

As populations the world over continue to face unprecedented challenges, and as we locally close out another Hurricane Season while continuing to serve on the frontlines of COVID, we see the evidence of what collaboration (rooted in Community) can truly accomplish.

And so, from all of us at St. Croix Foundation and on behalf of the members of the Nonprofit Consortium, we would like to extend our deepest appreciation to GlobalGiving. Because of your early, pioneering spirit and trust-based philanthropy, the Nonprofit Consortium has now engaged 50+ organizations, of which 30 are official members. Combined, the Consortium has had a service reach of over 10,000 people and created 10+ new national funding partnerships that are even now supporting new systems of resilience. As the Consortium prepares for the next 5 years and beyond, we look back with gratitude on the investment that has been made in the strengthening of our Community.

Highlighting 5 Years of Ingenuity in the Civic Sector
On September 16th, St. Croix Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium hosted our virtual 5th Anniversary Community Presentation to showcase the investments, impact, and collaborative service of our Nonprofit Partners. The presentation brought together 75+ attendees and speakers--- and of course, all 30 members of the Nonprofit Consortium. Partners such as Susan Taylor Batten of the Association of Black Foundation Executives and Donna Callejon from GlobalGiving spoke about the lessons our Civic Sector, unified in such a unique format, had to share with the entire field of Philanthropy.

The presentation highlighted the Foundation’s strategic work to raise the collective profile and impact of our Civic Sector partners--- and to get the U.S. Virgin Islands onto the philanthropic funding map. Guest speakers and members spoke about fostering new partnerships that collected critical data on residents and nonprofit capacity to rebuild after the hurricanes, created safety nets for unmet needs, and connected nonprofits to resources that helped them advocate for their organizations and the people they serve. Presenters spoke of a growing network of national private funders and the technical competencies around collaboration, community organizing, social justice, and systems thinking that the Nonprofit Consortium helped build. From the words of Consortium members themselves, we can get a glimpse of the impact:

  • St. Croix Foundation has been instrumental in helping us to expand our dental services. ~ Frederiksted Health Center
  • We have, in our first six months of service, served 25 homeless individuals and 1,500 meals at our location; we’ve moved 9 people to permanent housing, we’ve placed 6 people in full-time employment, 2 people in part-time employment, and 2 people in job training.  All it took was a nudge from a local foundation to help us open.  ~Liberty Place.

In the past 5 years, the Nonprofit Consortium has been put to the test. From two Category 5 Hurricanes in 2017 to COVID-19 and the racial justice movements of last summer, it has met the challenge, pivoted, grown, and is now a model of unified Civic Leadership and People Power.

Watch our Community Impact Presentation here:https://www.facebook.com/stcroix.fnd.1/videos/602247214481269

Reimaging a Sustainable St. Croix Rooted in Community Voice"
In our last update, we reported on our Engage VI Environmental Virtual Town Halls, a three-part series that took place over the summer to address environmental hazards spurred by the reopening of Limetree Bay Refinery and Terminals. As a geographically and politically isolated territory of the U.S., environmental and health issues are compounded for the People of St. Croix, and our objective was simple but profound: ensure Community Voice take center stage and create space for open, honest and transparent dialogue between regulators, stakeholders, and residents.

In the final Town Hall on July 29th, St. Croix Foundation and Nonprofit Consortium Members from the Environmental Sector - St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA), Crucian Heritage And Nature Tourism (CHANT), & the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition (VIGFC) – opened the floor to reimagine the future.

Following the first and second Town Halls on emergency response and the environmental impacts of heavy industry and agriculture, the theme for the third town hall in the series was aptly entitled Reimagining A Sustainable Future: Balancing Economic Promise & Environmental Stewardship. With panelists from the Economic Development Authority, U.V.I. Research and Technology Park joined by the Partnership for Southern Equity, the discussion centered around exploring a future independent of heavy industry that represents a progressive and justice-focused landscape while balancing economic promise and environmental justice.

Over the course of the entire series, guest panelists included high ranking executives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, V.I.T.E.M.A., VI Dept. of Planning and Natural Resources, VI Dept. of Health, VI Dept. of Agriculture, the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands, VI Economic Development Authority, U.V.I. Research and Technology Park, and the Partnership for Southern Equity. In total, over 100 people attended the third Town Hall, and many attendees have signed up to engage around working groups that could potentially actualize some of the themes discussed in the final town hall series.

View our third virtual Town Hall here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq2oOzNeR24

The Foundation and the Environmental Sector Receive Hive Fund Award
We are also happy to report another milestone! In the last quarter, the Foundation and members of the Environmental Sector – C.H.A.N.T., S.E.A., and V.I.G.F.C. – were awarded a three-year $225,000 Grant by the Hive Fund in recognition of the Environmental Sector’s collaborative efforts and vision as outlined in a joint case for support.  The award’s purpose is to empower the Sector, which “advocates for and mobilizes around a community vision rooted in environmental justice, placing a historically marginalized community in charge of decision-making around energy supply, environment, health, workforce, and community development.” The grant represents one of the key goals set forth five years ago when the Consortium was launched- increase funding for small nonprofits through coalesced, collaborative funding requests. It is one of the first major funding wins a Sector of our Consortium!

In alignment with the HIVE Fund’s priority of “shaping new clean and equitable economies,” funding will be used to build capacity around community organizing and movement building and general operating support. Through the competencies and collaborations nurtured in the Consortium, the Environmental Sector has been active in responding to issues of environmental justice and equity specifically as it pertains to the Limetree Bay Oil Refinery. The sector intends to capitalize on the work completed over the summer and continue empowering Community to hold policymakers accountable through efforts supported by the in-development ‘working groups’. The Foundation thanks the Hive Fund and its civic partners for their commitment to funding Black-led and Black serving environmental justice causes!

Thank you, GlobalGiving!
From the Foundation’s inception 31 years ago, nonprofits have been at the center of everything we do. But, over the past 5 years, we have harnessed extraordinary wisdom about our Community through our Nonprofit Consortium. Today, we are fostering and cultivating the most inspirational, intentional and dynamic culture of collaboration in the U.S. Virgin Islands. GlobalGiving has been a thought partner, an advocate, and a trust-based funder – and we can confidently say that it’s really just the beginning!

Our Third Town Hall: Reimagining St. Croix!
Our Third Town Hall: Reimagining St. Croix!
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Virtual Town Halls Address Environmental Issues!
Virtual Town Halls Address Environmental Issues!

February 27 – June 25, 2021

In our last quarterly report, we told you about St. Croix Foundation’s work through the Nonprofit Consortium to create pathways toward greater engagement in the civic sector. In the several months since, and just as the 2021 Hurricane Season began and the world’s attention on climate focuses, the Nonprofit Consortium’s values of equity, collaboration, and community have never been more critical.

As we approach the Nonprofit Consortium’s 5th Anniversary this August 2021, St. Croix Foundation’s pledge to hold space for community action, to keep sacred the civic sector, and to empower local nonprofits has been put to the test and the importance of collective voice proven. In this last quarter alone, the Nonprofit Consortium has convened 19 times, with all four sectors represented: arts and culture, health and human welfare, youth and education, and the natural and built environs. In all, 20+ organizations sat at the table to continue vital case development while conducting community organization and advocacy around environmental justice.

The stakes have never been higher for our People. With no federal voting power, the voices of our civic organizations offer a voice and vision that encompasses sustainable, equitable systems--- of food, energy, education, and economics. To our family at GlobalGiving, we extend our deepest appreciation for sharing our vision!

Nonprofit Consortium Hosts Town Halls Around Environmental Justice
While many might not be able to pick St. Croix out on a world map, the U.S. Virgin Islands certainly has national relevance. In addition to being the only predominantly black jurisdiction (under the U.S. Flag) without any federal voting rights, this 84 square mile island was once home to the largest oil refinery in the world, based on throughput. It also has the distinction of enduring one of the largest (and quietest) oil spills in American history, to the tune of 43 million gallons that slowly leaked into the island’s largest freshwater aquifer. Because of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ vulnerability relative to climate change, striking a balance between environmental justice and sustainable development was a top priority to the Nonprofit Consortium from its inception. In fact, we began exploring new models of sustainability and excavating our past exploitive environmental injustices at our Environmental Forum in 2019.

In February of 2021, the 50-year-old refinery, which had shuttered in 2012, reopened under new ownership and within the first two months of operation, two chemical exigences occurred that rained oil onto people’s homes, cars, and into their cisterns (rain catchment systems located under most homes which serve as the primary water source for island residents). Having witnessed residents being left breathless for months from highly noxious gases wafting through downwind neighborhoods after the restart, St. Croix Foundation and members of the Nonprofit Consortium stepped forward. With little to no acknowledgment from the private and public sector and in the face of peoples’ pleas for help, we recognized that philanthropy had a moral imperative to lead courageously.

Empowering Community with Data and Resources
On Thursday, May 13th at 6pm St. Croix Foundation and Nonprofit Consortium Members from the Environmental Sectors - St. Croix Environmental Association, Crucian Heritage And Nature Tourism CHANT, & Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition - hosted its first Engage VI Environmental Virtual Town Hall to discuss recent environmental and health impacts from Limetree Bay Refinery.

Invitations were extended to Limetree Bay Terminals, LLC, US Environmental Protection Agency, the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Virgin Islands Department of Health, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency, and the Legislature to provide information on EPA regulations, and individual agency scope and responsibility relative to health and safety. While refinery representatives were not present, legal experts and both local and federal agency heads confirmed and spoke at the Town Hall. The chat was full of questions about the scope of damages and their impact on individual and environmental health. In total, the NPC’s First Town Hall in this three-part series hosted over 300 participants in the live session, 860 views of the Town Hall recording, and nearly 200 engagements, amplifications, and reactions.

The following day, the EPA announced that the refinery would close for 60 days, citing an imminent health threat, invoking powers under the Clean Air Act which had only exercised eleven times before.

As shared in prior reports to our GlobalGiving family, one of the Nonprofit Consortium’s outcomes has been the development of an official website, EngageVI.org., which now houses vital community resources, including emergency contacts for community health reporting.

A live recording of the first Virtual Town Hall can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u52T08p8FU

Making Space for Marginalized Voices
One month later, on June 10, St. Croix Environmental Association, C.H.A.N.T., the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition and St. Croix Foundation hosted the second Virtual Town Hall, entitled, “Heavy Industry and the Food We Eat: Impacts on Agriculture and Fishers on St. Croix.”

This special Town Hall included speakers Dr. David Bond, of Bennington College & Mr. Olasee Davis, from the University of the Virgin Islands who provided a history of heavy industry on St. Croix and (ask Jonathan if he can summarize this in a compelling way with NPC at the center).

Once again, pre-prepared questions were addressed to the Department of Agriculture and the 80+ attendees  asked various questions, including:

  • Why was the island of St. Croix, as agricultural land, chosen to be a place to create such heavy environmental polluting and destructive industries?
  • How can we qualify for Superfund status to achieve levels of remediation?
  • I just purchased well water, with the comment generated today should I be concerned about possible hidden health concerns from possible contamination, is well contamination St. Croix wide?

With nearly 1000 views and over 113 engagements, the convening was well-received:

  • “Thank you all for organizing and bringing us together.”
  • “Thank you to all the presenters and to those who organized this forum to provide information. I am looking forward to hearing of a solution to this health issue.”

Creating a Sustainable Vision
The third and final session of the three-part Engage VI Environmental Town Hall series is scheduled for July 15, 2021. The discussion will center around articulating a community vision for a prosperous and sustainable future given the external environments, community values, health, all of the priorities represented by the Nonprofit Consortium’s four sectors. Making this convening that much more crucial was the announcement on June 21, 2021 that due to financial difficulties, the refinery may close operations permanently in September 2021. This development has been at the center of our dialogue around reimagining a future independent of heavy industry. We have also considered how dramatically this scenario mirrors the economic fallout of the initial closure of the refinery in 2012. What this demands of our community and, our sector, is a progressive and justice-focused reimaging that balances economic promise and environmental stewardship. As a result, the prospective theme of the final session is Reimagining A Sustainable Future: Balancing Economic Promise & Environmental Stewardship.

Holding the Vision
The work described here didn’t begin in response to the oil refinery nor Hurricanes Maria and Irma or even Covid-19. It began as a result of a deep understanding of what resilience in isolated communities can look like. Framed by the realities of political status, climate change, economics, geography, and rooted deeply in cultural heritage, the Nonprofit Consortium is coalescing civic power, empowering the disenfranchised, and giving Voice to the vulnerable. Our GlobalGiving family has made it all possible. THANK YOU!

Sharing health resources at the environ. town hall
Sharing health resources at the environ. town hall
The Foundation and NPC partners collaborate!
The Foundation and NPC partners collaborate!
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We're Making a Case for Healing through the Arts!
We're Making a Case for Healing through the Arts!

In 2016, one year before Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Nonprofit Consortium was conceived to strategically build capacity within St. Croix’s Civic Sector in response to economic and political shifts that were decimating an already small donor pool while social needs exploded. Due to its territorial status, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) have a stifled voice, no vote at the federal level, and sits in a blind spot for national funders. St. Croix Foundation knew that to keep vital resources flowing to our most vulnerable residents, we had to strengthen our Territory’s nonprofit sector.

Our Nonprofit Consortium was officially launched through a series of table conversations amongst over 50 local nonprofits in the fall of 2016- nearly one year to the date prior to the 2017 storms. Today, the Consortium is a membership collective of roughly 30 civic entities serving St. Croix, USVI that has been nurturing and enhancing meaningful, community-based collaboration with the overarching goal of supporting greater social impact investments to benefit the people of the Virgin Islands. Over the span of almost 5 years and through rich programming, nonprofits in the Consortium have participated in three Art of Hosting trainings; 5 philanthropic retreats and forums; and innumerable workshops and board development exercises. Altogether, the organizations have built collaborations that have increased funding opportunities and allowed programmatic work to move forward with greater reach. We simply could not have done it without GlobalGiving!

Over the last several years, you’ve been with us on the journey – and thanks to you, our GlobalGiving family, the Nonprofit Consortium continues to grow and evolve. In a disruption to the paradigm, the Consortium rallied not just for a funding opportunity but to develop a space for nonprofits to share their visions, their missions, and their stories. It provides access for conversations that unveiled new collaborations, new networks, new systems, and yes, funding! You’ve read in our reports about the staff and board development, technical grantwriting, and Art of Hosting training that is, today, facilitating strategic conversations, maximizing collective impact, and nurturing a culture of collaboration and alliance building. In this report, we will discuss the structure that is making the Consortium poised for even greater collaborative work, how nonprofits continued to excel even under COVID conditions, and how we are making the case for even greater investment in 2021.

Institutionalizing Structure for the Nonprofit Consortium
The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to help nonprofit organizations and initiatives on St. Croix grow successful at uplifting social equity, embracing civic leadership, and collaborating around high-impact programs and systems-building all the while stabilizing operations. To that end, in the last quarter, the Nonprofit Consortium has been busy formalizing the structure of the Nonprofit Consortium to strengthen its capacity to serve nonprofits.

Just this past January, the Nonprofit Consortium Advisory Committee finalized an updated Memorandum of Understanding which will govern member organizations through February 2022!

Representing all four sectors (arts, culture, and Crucian heritage; health and human services; education and youth development; and the natural and built environs), new members are subject to review by the Advisory Committee, which meets quarterly and must submit a letter of interest and must have attended two open non-sector NPC meetings. General meetings happen 6x per year and sector meetings occur as needed dependent upon case-writing and other needs. Any organization may join dependent upon being a registered state nonprofit in the US Virgin Islands.

As part of the Consortium’s strategy to evolve membership for holistic and innovative perspective, Veronica Hemmingway of Coastal Communities Foundation of South Carolina was invited and accepted a role on the Advisory Committee. The Nonprofit Consortium reached out to Veronica based on her work collaborating with nonprofits in South Carolina, the lessons that can be learned and shared across communities regardless of their proximity and, ways in which they have protected and preserved what remains of their indigenous culture. Veronica has seen the Consortium grow as she was present for the formative first meetings of the consortium in 2016 and participated in the 2020 Philanthropy Retreat and Forum.

Case Building for the Arts: Healing with the Humanities
In the absence of in-person convenings due to Covid-19, the Consortium is using this virtual opportunity to focus on compelling case-writing for national and international foundation support.

Over the course of the past quarter, our members have been busy! Our grassroots and formal nonprofits have convened 6 times, including advisory meetings, sector meetings, and as an entire body. While the Advisory Committee continues to guide the evolution of the structure of the Nonprofit Consortium, the Environs Sector has begun to design its case for funding that will support a holistic discovery process around imagining a U.S. Virgin Islands in the absence of heavy industry.

We are also excited to share that the Arts, Culture, and Crucian Heritage Sector is also in the midst of developing a cohesive case for support and reparations. In testimony to the Nonprofit Consortium’s positioning statement, and unlike any previous endeavor undertaken in the USVI, the case for support focuses specifically on racial equity and the healing from a history of colonialism and enslavement. By aligning the sectors’ most important needs with community collaboration the Consortium will help to sustain one of the largest arts communities in the Caribbean region.

Building Capacity… in Motion!
As a cohesive, cross-sector coalition that shares a unified position and vision of St. Croix, in November of 2020, St. Croix Foundation opened a grant opportunity through our CARE Fund to members of the Nonprofit Consortium. Funded by United PhilanthropyForum’s Momentum Fund, the Foundation awarded $65,000 in mini-grants to 13 members of the Consortium.

Awards were provided to applicants that were on the frontlines of the Covid-19 Pandemic and working to continue or expand services. Priorities included: (1) Nonprofit operating support (Open Doors), (2) Programming support for frontline responders, (3) Data collection and reporting, and (4) Direct programming to build resilience and new systems.

One recipient, Music in Motion Dance Academy, a fiscal sponsored project of the Foundation and a Nonprofit Consortium member, was awarded a $5,000 Open Door Mini Grant to allow the organization to move the dance studio’s equipment (sets, costumes, etc.) from a storage unit into a permanent location saving Music in Motion overhead costs of $3,300 in storage fees per year and providing capacity to store more equipment and have access to the contents as students needed. As an organization that serves low-income youth of color, Music in Motion is more than a dance company: it saves lives.  A January blog on Unstoppable Yes You sheds light on the healing that the arts provide and is evidence of the need for passionate nonprofits to establish a resilience that is personal, cultural, and relevant.  With exacerbated global crises and local uncertainty, the need for organizations like Music in Motion to receive the support they need to serve our community is even greater.

Today, the stark reality for our community is that in the face of unprecedented economic collapse, back-to-back hurricanes, and now Covid-19, it is our local nonprofits who are being called upon to shoulder greater responsibilities. With the support of our GlobalGiving family, through the Nonprofit Consortium we will continue to provide holistic support – from technical assistance to continuing to nurture a spirit of collaboration - to ensure deeper impact and financial and operational sustainability.

To our GlobalGiving family we say THANK YOU for all you do to make this work possible!

Music in Motion: Arts Organizations Saving Lives
Music in Motion: Arts Organizations Saving Lives
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Our Consortium is Driving an Equitable Vision!
Our Consortium is Driving an Equitable Vision!

This past September, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development celebrated 30 years of service and leadership in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That milestone is possible due to many collaborations and supporters and we wish to extend our deepest appreciation to our friends at GlobalGiving. Together, we have achieved much in just the past three years since Hurricanes Maria and Irma. As the People of the Virgin Islands continue to recover and build capacity for resilience, your support of our Nonprofit Consortium has been inspirational and impactful.

Through our Nonprofit Consortium, we have made deep impact in systemically stressed sectors of our civil society but most importantly, the Foundation is fostering the will and the people power to strengthen and sustain local civic organizations.

Today, the stark reality for our community, and so many like ours, is that the perfect storm of local, regional, national, and global crises requires the civic sector to step forward as never before.  Thanks to the support of GlobalGiving, our Nonprofit Consortium is creating space and providing the resources necessary for nurturing a movement of transformation that is grounded in equity.

Taking a stand on equity and empowering the civic sector
Over the course of the past quarter, the Nonprofit Consortium has been busy! In all, 29 grassroots and formal local nonprofits have convened 11 times to analyze the data from recent surveys on nonprofit capacity as relates to the needs surrounding Covid-19. Representing the sectors of Health & Human Welfare, the Environs, Education, and Arts, Culture, and Crucian Heritage, our NPC is sparking conversations on equity.

Position Statement on Racial Equity: Building Momentum along with Capacity
As a coalition of 30 nonprofits, the Nonprofit Consortium has coalesced to drive innovative systems change. As we seek to drive systems change and investments to support civil society in the US Virgin Islands, below please find our NPC Positioning Statement, which was compiled collectively in July 2020, amidst COVID-19 and the 2020 Racial Justice Movement:  

  1. The social and economic injustices that philanthropy and civil society aims to solve are rooted in institutional policies and practices that give advantages to white people and disadvantage black and brown people. 
  2. To attain freedom, justice, and equity for all, we must harness our collective voice to uncover the similarities between disenfranchised communities of color much like our own, in arenas such as public health (which includes medical and behavioral), education, housing, criminal justice, and advocacy for systems change in the nonprofit sector.
  3. Localized system change is about achieving equity and freedom against the backdrop of the legacy of colonialism and enslavement.
  4. True progress requires that place-based nonprofits tool themselves and take a position at the programmatic and policy level to address the needs of the times.

In mid-September, sectors of the Nonprofit Consortium presented their work and positioning statement to 10 community stakeholders and media reps from local print and online outlets.

2nd Biannual Nonprofit Consortium Forum for Political Candidates
Also in September, the Nonprofit Consortium, hosted by St. Croix Foundation for Community Development, held a virtual nonprofit convening for political aspirants. Sixteen members of the civic sector shared their joint positioning statement regarding their collective work for the community-at-large.

Representatives from Health & Human Welfare, the Environs, Education, and Arts, Culture, and Crucian Heritage) presented their sector’s work after which a short Q and A for policymakers and political aspirants followed. Aspirants were not allowed to speak. Each sector presented on how they are serving their clients as frontline responders during disasters and grey skies.  Aspirants were allowed to post questions and comments in the Zoom, and some commented on how various sectors have had an impact on their life as youth and even now. Genevieve Whitaker (Senate Aspirant): “I can attest to the Boys & Girls Club’s role in my development as a young girl.” Senator Novelle Francis: “I very much appreciated the presentations this evening and the extensive work of NCP. It was informational and educational.” Samuel Carrion (Senate Aspirant): “I want to thank NPC and all its members for the great collective work it's doing to bring societal change in all sectors of our community.”

In October, after meeting with media and political aspirants and on behalf of the Nonprofit Consortium, St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, shared the NPC’s Community-Centric Vision and Position on Racial Equity with the U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority. While the EDA is currently working on a strategic plan for its 2040 Vision Initiative, the Foundation and the Consortium know all too well that a Vision or Plan on a piece of paper will not garner the requisite community buy-in or gain traction in implementation if it is not rooted in an honest assessment of what a community values most. In the end, if the intention is to create a credible Vision, developing attendant strategies to make that Vision actionable are vital.

Thank you!
Today, the Nonprofit Consortium (NPC) is a dynamic demonstration of the critical importance of civil society in the overall health and well-being of a community. It is a model of collaboration and innovation that can sustain some of the most isolated communities through these unprecedented times.

The Consortium provides support island-wide!
The Consortium provides support island-wide!
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Our Philanthropic Network's Love for Humankind
Our Philanthropic Network's Love for Humankind

July 2020

Background
St. Croix Foundation for Community Developed officially launched the Nonprofit Consortium through a series of table conversations amongst over 50 local nonprofits in the fall of 2016. The Foundation initiated this collective action nearly one year to the day prior to the 2017 hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Several months after that first convening, the Foundation partnered with Nonprofit Consortium members to host its first of five Philanthropy Retreats and Forums, including a special convening with a focus on Environmental Justice and the implications of the restart of a decades-old oil refinery.

The Consortium is now a collective of roughly 30 civic entities that has birthed broader national partnerships, raising awareness about St. Croix and the powerful work being conducted by the nonprofit sector. With a singular focus on nurturing enhanced collaboration, the Consortium is now actively gathering data and developing strategies to address the new realities of COVID-19. Against the backdrop of ongoing hurricane recovery and preparedness with the onset of the new hurricane season on June 1st, the Nonprofit Consortium is fostering sustainable resiliency practices. We extend our deepest appreciation to our GlobalGiving partners for their support and are pleased to share the work of the Nonprofit Consortium over the last three months.

Holding Space
The civic community has endured many challenges- most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to understand the challenges that organizations are facing, the Foundation continues to HOLD SPACE for our nonprofit leaders to ensure they feel connected as we collectively navigate the economic and health-related challenges surrounding the pandemic. We have designed a webinar series to take place throughout the remainder of 2020 to provide space for nonprofits to share innovations and strategies for adapting or transforming program service delivery models. We continue to serve as a Community Convener for nonprofits so that we can all connect, collaborate, and meet current challenges together. We thank funders like GlobalGiving that continue to support the work of this Consortium, which enables us to reach vulnerable populations and leverage resources for broader impact.

4th Annual Philanthropy Retreat Connects Local Nonprofits and National Foundations
In February 2020, St. Croix Foundation, in partnership with the Nonprofit Consortium, hosted 15 partners from national foundations and associations ranging from the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Council of Foundations to the Southeastern Council on Foundations and Association of Black Foundation Executives. As discussed in our March Report, the retreat entitled The Power of People and Place: Status Matters, connected executives with over 20 local nonprofits in the Nonprofit Consortium for a focused conversation around political status, social equity, community resilience and nonprofit capacity building. The retreat and forum provided a priceless opportunity for leaders to have an unfiltered view of the deeply entrenched social, political, and environmental issues that necessitate a collaborative civic sector. The retreat also afforded NPC members the opportunity to unveil the results of a survey instrument developed in the fall of 2019 to begin capturing real data around the health, viability, and functionality of nonprofits on St. Croix. SCF was able to capture the reactions and experiences of Foundation Executives in a short video that can be viewed here.

St. Croix Foundation Launches Covid-19 Survey Instrument
In early April 2020, St. Croix Foundation convened the Nonprofit Consortium partners to gauge how organizations were responding to Covid-19. The Foundation was interested in organizational health, specifically around funding and how individuals were responding to global uncertainty. In order to capture data, the Foundation launched the first survey instrument, Nonprofit Consortium Emergency Capacity Assessment, with questions assessing financial outlooks, technology needs, development capabilities, human resource changes, access and engagement with community partners and constituents, and program service delivery methods. Results from that survey indicated that, on a scale defined as not concerned/concerned/very concerned, of the organizations polled 64.29% were very concerned about the loss of fundraising revenue, 100% were concerned or very concerned about program service delivery, and 53.85% were concerned about engaging stakeholders due to technology gaps.

 Because the pandemic has caused a great shift in the daily lives of all of our partners, the Foundation was also interested in mental health and polled on areas pertaining to work-life balance and how those changes were impacting performance. During the month of July, the Foundation will be hosting three webinars with nonprofit consortium partners to assess the survey instrument and its results while gaining a better understanding of the shifts that have happened over the last three months since the initial survey. The Foundation will distribute a follow-up survey focused on areas relating to cash-flow, assessing the success of program service delivery adaptations, and gauging individual needs of partners’ families such as safe access to healthy food, healthcare services, and community. The Foundation hopes to analyze these responses with the goal of developing a deeper strategy for supporting nonprofits and for case-making under the new reality of Covid-19.

St. Croix Foundation Relaunches CARE Fund with Focus on Open Doors
Originally launched within days of catastrophic Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, the CARE Fund raised and awarded $1.8 million in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 storms, providing direct support to frontline relief efforts and long-term resiliency initiatives. St. Croix Foundation has now established the CARE Fund as a permanent Fund, with the flexibility to evolve with and respond to emerging community needs resulting from natural, political, economic, or social crises.

The Foundation has established four priority areas to be addressed under our retooled CARE Fund including 1) programmatic support for frontline responders, 2) data collection for strategic recovery, 3) resiliency & systems innovation prioritizing youth & education, public health, and food security, and 4) the Open Door Fund. While all priority areas include support for members of the Nonprofit Consortium and propel innovative, collaborative initiatives, the Open Door Fund is designed for member organizations to, very simply, help “keep their doors open.” With most nonprofits functioning with little or no operating reserves, the Foundation is keenly aware of the challenges Covid-19 is presenting for our essential civic community to keep the lights on and continue delivering services. This fund will support nonprofit organizations by awarding less restrictive operating grants to steady and fortify nonprofits, particularly those standing on the frontlines of this crisis.

Looking to a future under COVID-19
Amidst an ever-evolving landscape due to COVID-19, St. Croix Foundation has taken this time to reflect on how we can best support our nonprofits by gathering data and networking with national and global partners. As a predominantly Black and Brown community, with no federal voting power, the U.S. Virgin Islands epitomizes the case for racial and economic equity – and it emphasizes the importance of collaborative, community-based collectives like the Nonprofit Consortium. As such, the Foundation is committed to providing financial support, introducing and exploring innovative practices, and most importantly nurturing collaboration locally, nationally, and globally. We share so many similarities with underserved communities on the mainland and developing communities around the world, and what we know is this: those who sit on the frontlines of injustice and inequity are often the ones who are tapping into some of the most innovative and sustainable solutions!

We thank our partners at GlobalGiving!

Holding Space for Nonprofits During Covid
Holding Space for Nonprofits During Covid

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Organization Information

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development

Location: Christiansted - Virgin Islands
Website:
Twitter: @stxfoundation
Project Leader:
Deanna James
Christiansted, USVI Virgin Islands
$3,912 raised of $1,000,000 goal
 
50 donations
$996,088 to go
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