letterhead-electronic-header 11.17.14
 
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A friendly sheep, standing in front of several other chill sheep, head tilited, looking at you, checking to see how you are doing, letting you know she is here for you.

Hi Friends,

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Pictured: Two members of Laura's daily intermission-Redbeak & Pantoufle. Imagine: some pun about spring chickens.

"Uggghhh" you must be thinking. "Another COVID email. Another notice from some group telling us how they're here for us and we're all in this together and everything is going to be OK at some point."

And you're right. That's exactly what this email is.

In a typical year, we'd be opening our first newsletter of 2020 with some sort of wonderfully terrible pun about spring, or marveling at how warm St. Patrick's Day was, or make some analogy involving cocoons. But this is not a typical year. So, we're going to shun the puns and get right to the point.

***
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The point being penguins (kind of).

***

We're Here for You

We here at MCFG cannot begin to express the depth of our gratitude for those of you working on the front lines of this pandemic. The public health experts, the health care workers, the domestic violence survivor advocates, the volunteers running food drives and delivering groceries...there are so many of you doing so much to not only serve the people you always serve, but also those exponentially affected by the virus. Your dedication, compassion, and grace under pressure are an inspirational reminder of what humanity is at its best. Thank you doesn't begin to cover it, and we know that. We also know that we don't hold a candle to the work you are doing and the bravery you are showing. All we can do is support you the best we can.

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Breathe. Puruse the garbage cans. Anything good in there? Here's hoping for pizza crusts!

To that end, Laura and Mac are offering free phone coaching sessions to all of our clients--present, past, and peripheral, for as long as it takes to get through this public health crisis. Calls can be set for 30, 45, or 60 minutes, and we will do our best to accommodate your schedule, including early mornings and evenings. Need advice on how to support your staff? Need to scream about the injustice of our systems, newly illuminated by this health crisis? Need to cry and yell and then find out where you can get some coloring sheets? Whatever it is you need to talk about, we are here to listen, support, and give the best advice and resources we have. Scheduling a call is as easy as emailing Carly Blumfield, Events Assistant and phone call scheduler-extraordinaire.

***
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"What do you mean I'm not a bear? I have all the Koala-fi-cations."

***

Intermission

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Me, slowly realizing I've eaten my two-week rations in a day and a half.

Those of you who have known us for awhile know that we are always talking about work-life balance and the value of the intermission. In a sector built to serve others, the truth we have to accept is that we can't serve well if we don't take care of ourselves. In a moment where everything is moving at lightning speed, suffering is everywhere, and the only certainty is that everything is uncertain, taking a moment for ourselves seems...wrong. We know. In a time of crisis, the impulse is to do away with non-crisis practices (or goals) and focus only on the fires to be doused. But burnout is real. Stress can, and will, overtake you without warning, and you who so generously serve others deserve moments of peace when you can get them.

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Llama be real with you.

It's times like these that we feel duty-bound to remind you: intermissions are OK. Necessary even, for you, your staff, everyone. They can lift spirits, lighten moods, and spark creative solutions for the problems which lay ahead. We have always grounded our consulting practice in the values of taking time to connect immediate problem-solving to long-term goals, while also prioritizing staff, board, and volunteer wellness, and we will continue to do so. The support we offer you will continue to include not only advice on how to link your present solutions to long-term goals, but also our very best intermission ideas. We'll post them on Twitter, we'll share them on coaching calls, and we'll start below with a list of examples from clients and friends who have started their own intermission practices.

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Excuse me while I intermiss.

▪ Set up an intermission room a la CommunityHealth
▪ Check out ChickTV and DailyDougie on Instagram
▪ Take a walk around the block (six feet from other walkers)
▪ Start up a game of chess. Make one move every hour.
▪ Visit a virtual museum, park, or haunted house (we all have our things!).
▪ Read Nonprofit AF. Seriously, read it. Read it all the time and then make others read it. Author Vu Le knows whats up--realness, humor, and oxford commas.
▪ Knit, color, re-pot a plant, dance to one song, do 10 pushups, eat an apple, do a dish, read one chapter in a book, write a haiku, download stock photos of cute animals…make a list of intermission ideas…
▪ Breathe.
Set up an intermission room a la CommunityHealth
Check out ChickTV and DailyDougie on Instagram
Take a walk around the block (six feet from other walkers)
Start up a game of chess. Make one move every hour.
Visit a virtual museum, park, or haunted house (we all have our things!).
Read Nonprofit AF. Seriously, read it. Read it all the time and then make others read it. Author Vu Le knows whats up--realness, humor, and oxford commas.
Knit, color, re-pot a plant, dance to one song, do 10 pushups, eat an apple, do a dish, read one chapter in a book, write a haiku, download stock photos of cute animals…make a list of intermission ideas…
Breathe.
***
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Mooooooooving right along...

***

MCFGers have been contemplating this current health and economic crisis via our socially distanced home offices. For this writer, the context of previous health and economic crises, coupled with the recent St. Patrick's Day holiday (an actual meaningful holiday for our family) served as a grounding force. Somehow, despite The Great Famine, Influenza, The Great Depression, and high school, I am still here, doing work to support people and organizations doing actual critical work to make the lives of others better, and be in community with caring, thoughtful, intelligent people who are prioritizing supporting each other and people they will never meet. The world is scarier than usual right now. The day will come again when it won't be. And it will be thanks to you.

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And possibly the Eugene Levy of owls.

We will leave you with this: a Tarot card Laura pulled for her eight college roommates at the onset of the shutdowns. Regarding the present moment: Major Arcana, XXI World (in this deck, also called Dancer), pulled upright:

To encounter the World in your cards is to encounter a great unity and wholeness. It symbolizes the moment when the inner and the outer worlds - self and other - become a single entity. In some traditions, this state is described as enlightenment, or nirvana. There is a recognition that the individual self is profoundly linked with all other things, and that we all dance and sway along the flow of life to one rhythm. Not only do you hear this rhythm, but you participate in it - following the dips and the rises, the joys and the sorrows.

In Rhythm with You,
Laura, Mac, Kearney, Carly, Gus, and Walter

P.S. Wondering about our subject line? Thank our friends to the north for Caremongering.

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MCFGers Intermissing: Carly plays guitar. Laura has hens. Kearney shadowboxes. Mac declares her undying obedience and loyalty to the One True Fluff, and then feeds him treats.

COVID-19 Info & Resources

Information and Resources:
* City of Chicago Response Center
* The Doc is In: Ask Dr. Awady via Mayor Lori Lightfoot Twitter Feed (Daily at 11am)
* State of Illinois COVID-19 Response
* Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce Resources Page (great for small businesses!)
* Forefront COVID-19 Resources and Updates
* Housing Action Illinois Resources

Funding Opportunities:
* Crossroads Fund Critical Response
* Chicago COVID-19 Response
* Evanston Community Foundation Rapid Response

 
 
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