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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A City Pulls Together

Count me among the mayors who feel they represent the city with the biggest heart. Evansville is pulling together like never before as a result of the novel coronavirus. As we all acclimate to the new normals of our world, it’s my pleasure to witness a city full of grace, charity, kindness, compassion, and a profound sense of humanity.

From providing meals to the children of the city at select schools and CK Newsome Center, neighbors helping neighbors, hospitals collaborating in the name of public health, and raising millions of dollars for stressed nonprofits to police officers producing a music video promoting social distancing and volunteers and faith communities helping the homeless. If you can think of a good deed, it is being performed right here in Evansville at a humanitarian level the likes of which would make even a curmudgeon smile.

The exceptional work of United Way of Southwestern Indiana President and CEO Amy Canterbury, Welborn Baptist Foundation Executive Director Pat Creech, Bussing-Koch Foundation President Bill Bussing, and Old National Bank Chairman-Emeritus and retired CEO Bob Jones will assist nonprofits working in the human services sector to better assist the most vulnerable among us. The COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region will benefit organizations in Posey, Vanderburgh, Gibson, Warrick, and Spencer counties.

We announced the creation of the fund on March 27 with $1.4 million in commitments. The next day, Bill Stone, president and CEO of SS&C Technologies, offered a $500,000 match. Within two days we had another $370,000 in commitments, well on our way to taking advantage of Mr. Stone’s full matching pledge.

The United Way of Southwestern Indiana is the fiscal sponsor of the fund. Donations can be made at covidresponse.com. Our ultimate goal is to raise $6 million. With our fast start, I’m confident we can reach our goal.

I’m equally proud of the good work led by Ross Chapman with For Evansville and our friends at Community One. They’ve created the Need a Neighbor initiative, which matches a person with a need to a person who wants to meet a need. You can list a need or volunteer at needaneighbor.org.

Hundreds of families have been nourished in recent weeks by the Feed Evansville effort, championed by City Council President Alex Burton and Courtney Johnson. They’ve led a group of community volunteers in providing grab-and-go meals at the CK Newsome Center.

Other nutritional needs also are being met by the Junior League of Evansville, as they have joined cafeteria workers of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation and others to feed families at a number of Evansville schools.

These represent the larger efforts around the city during this public health crisis, but this is by no means all that is being done. Now, more than ever, we need each other. And that’s why, in every part of our city, citizens and institutions are pulling together for the greater. It’s the Evansville way.

Stay healthy, and please practice social distancing!

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

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