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Power in Numbers

Has it only been 1344 hours, 16 minutes, and 20 seconds since we started Shelter In Place? It seems like 2798 hours, 32 minutes, and 40 seconds.

I know so many of you have your heads down, working long hours to address our community's critical needs, but I'd like to take five short minutes of your time to talk about some of the many, many incredible efforts I've been lucky enough to witness in our community in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Here's how many:

100,000. That's the number of critically-needed supplies that our community donated to frontline nonprofit workers at 80 organizations, specifically 30,000 gloves, 70,000 masks, and 2,800 bottles of hand sanitizer. SVCN team leader Jenn Torai and partners at the SVO and American Leadership Forum have worked tirelessly to survey nonprofit needs and source donations, and our committed volunteer Eric Bonesteel (otherwise known as my husband) handles all the deliveries and pick-ups. That doesn't even include thousands of additional supplies that went directly to nonprofits from donors!

3,065. That's the number of volunteers we've helped deploy to 33 nonprofit organizations, together with the City of San José and Joint Venture's Silicon Valley Talent Partnership. These community members have raised their hands to help, even when it sometimes means risking their personal safety, and we're all inspired by their willingness to work side-by-side with us.

100s. Nothing warms the heart of a nonprofit association CEO more than seeing hundreds of partnerships coming up like California poppies after a rainy winter! Our community needs us all working together to bring food, basic necessities, shelter, and mental health and health care to those in need.

In addition to the pitched effort to bring critically needed protective equipment, volunteers, funding, and coordination to the nonprofit frontline response to COVID19 and shelter-in-place, SVCN is working every day, with teams of nonprofits, to ensure that government and foundation policies and practices protect and support nonprofits and the communities they serve. As a result, my team is getting a front row view of what nonprofits are doing separately—and together—during this crisis. And I can tell you that collaboration and alignment are the name of the game.

Massive, coordinated systems of food, diaper, and formula distribution have been organized by dozens of nonprofits and our public and private sector partners. I witnessed a group of meal providers negotiate some much-needed new funding together, with several leaders telling me independently, "give that amount to (another nonprofit), they need it more than we do." I witnessed our nonprofit housing and homelessness community graciously provide food distribution and community health nonprofits with 10,000 protective masks to protect the lives of their staff and clients.

Yes, there are times when nonprofit "hunger games" (as Vu Le puts it on the Nonprofit AF blog) get in the way of powerful collective impact. But in our South Bay community, I have never seen more generosity of spirit among nonprofits.

SVCN + CADRE = Powerful Nonprofit Disaster Response

Speaking of collective impact, I'm beyond pleased to announce that SVCN has entered into a formal partnership with CADRE (Collaborating Agencies' Disaster Relief Effort), a network of organizations that provide community services that are essential in times of disaster.

Together, SVCN and CADRE will function as a local VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to improve outcomes for our community during the COVID-19 crisis. We'll do that by facilitating cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration among community-based organizations and their partners. Learn more about our new alliance.

Please join us in welcoming our newest colleagues to the SVCN family: CADRE Board Chair Marsha Hovey, the entire CADRE Board, all of the Functional Team Leads, and our disaster recovery expert Annamaria Swardenski!

Lastly, please stay healthy and take care of yourself.

In alliance,


P.S. Our team would love to hear and lift up your stories of partnership during this crisis! Send stories and photos to Peter at

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