We hope this message finds everyone safe and well.
We understand that this past year has been challenging and difficult at best. Many of us have not just been professionally impacted by COVID-19, but personally as well. We commend everyone for their continued resilience and thank those who are on the front line as essential workers.
Our foundation’s mission has always been to support our community, especially in times of hardship. With this in mind, this past year we have made several adjustments that allowed us to maintain our relationships and increase our support where needed.
Even though we were not able to attend any annual in-person meetings, nor hold our annual alumni dinner, nor make any on-site visits to our favorites; The Ronald McDonald House, The Hole In The Wall Gang, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, we did as most other organizations have done, and moved to a virtual setting. While this cannot replace the experience of in-person interactions, we remained committed to continue our mission to provide access to education and basic resources to children…. Perhaps a little more difficult and challenging than in person, but all-in-all a very productive year.
I’m pleased to report that with the help of some technology and some of our younger board members we were able to conduct our in-person scholarship interviews via Zoom.
We would like to take this time to congratulate our two newest additions to our foundation’s family: Abigail Moyles and Dillon Camarillo. This fall, Abby will be attending the University of Connecticut (Intended Major: Accounting) and Dillon will be attending the University of Hartford (Intended Major: Computer Engineering). Please join us in congratulating them on their accomplishments and offer any words of wisdom as they begin this next chapter of their lives – Abigail and Dillon congratulations and welcome.
Most of our supporters don’t get a chance to see and more importantly to feel the impact of our scholarship program. Below is a letter from this year’s scholarship winner Abigail Moyles.
To date our education program has helped sponsor 33 students. The one thing that makes us most proud is that most if not all of our past recipients continue to stay in touch and many continue to help cultivate and grow our Internship opportunities for our most recent scholarship winners. This allows us to continue to build our relations with our students post graduation while letting our newer award winners know the importance of networking and never having to go it alone. The relationships we have built and continue to build is what makes us a family. Typically it is at this time of the year that we all gather for our annual ZFF alumni dinner and welcome in our newest scholarship recipients. This year, however, in order to maintain safe social distancing, we had to cancel our dinner….Our goal is to resume normal activity once COVID has subsided and restrictions have lessened.
While we have not been able to make any in-person site visits, we have been in active communication with all our partners, The Hole In The Wall Gang, Ronald McDonald’s House, The Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, and The Plymouth Food Pantry, to guarantee that our support will remain unchanged throughout 2020, in fact we were able to increase our support and commitment in several areas being hit the hardest. On the flip-side some of our partners have had an outpouring of community support and have asked us to put our resources towards other individuals or organizations that may need extra help. One in particular had to do with our annual support to a local food pantry in Connecticut, (The Plymouth Food Pantry). Having received strong community support to handle the holiday rush they helped us make an introduction to the Human Resource Agency of New Britain. This gave us the opportunity to forge new relationships in a new channel…. I’m happy to report that we were able to help with one of their winter programs focusing on children needing additional support. Thank you Larry and team for the introduction.
This year has been a testament to our partners’ resilience and ability to adapt under extenuating circumstances. In order for many of our partners to continue to deliver on their vision and continue to have impact, they have made dramatic adjustments to their programming and have found solutions to ensure that the needs of those they serve are met.
Justin Farrands, Peer-to-Peeer Coordinator for The Hole in the Wall Gang shares with us:
“As you can image, Camp looked pretty different this summer. While we were not able to have campers on site we were able to launch our first-ever alternative summer programming with five-hundred children participating. We have also been able to expand our hospitals to new locations in Delaware, stretching our reach down the east coast. While Camp programming looks a little different this year, we are still creating extraordinary ways for seriously ill children to continue to experience the magic of Hole in the Wall. It’s because of members of our community like you and Cheryl that we are able to create these impactful programs for our campers.”
We are both fortunate and proud to be able to partner with organizations such as The Hole in the Wall Gang, The Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, and the Ronald McDonald House. We encourage you to continue supporting your local communities where you can.
As this year has been trying for many, in ways that are personal to each of you, we ask that you treat your neighbors with kindness and warmth this holiday season. We ask those who have the means, to consider making a donation to the Zukowski Family Foundation so that we may continue to have direct impact on others and create a brighter future for our communities.
Always remember our favorite quote from Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to predict your future is to create it”.
Ray & Cheryl