Like many nonprofit organizations, local museums and education foundations have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
In the case of both the DuPage Children’s Museum and Naper Settlement both museums had to close their doors to the public in accordance with the state guidelines in March. Hundreds of children, together with their families and schools, depend on these nonprofits to support and augment early childhood learning and development. Whether through history lessons at Naper Settlement or through play to learn at the DuPage Children’s Museum, those experiences were no longer available – at least in person. However, both nonprofits knew that childhood learning doesn’t stop for a virus, so quickly pivoted to find new ways to deliver their missions through virtual experiences.
For the Naperville Education Foundation and the Indian Prairie Education Foundation their mission is to provide financial support for programs that are not covered by tax payer dollars. While both school districts moved quickly to remote e-learning, the foundations needed to find new ways to raise enough money to help support the at-risk families hardest hit by the pandemic. Through creative partnerships and an outpouring of support from the local community, both organizations have been able to help hundreds of families in need.
All four leaders credit the resiliency and creativity of their dedicated boards and staff in helping them meet the challenges their organizations are facing as a result of COVID-19. While they remain steadfast in their commitment to their individual missions, the operations of these four nonprofits will never be the same. However, they are strategically moving with intention from crisis to hope for a better future.
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Wendy Goettsch, Executive Director, Naperville Education Foundation
Elisha Johnson, Executive Director, Indian Prairie Education Foundation
Andrea Wiles, President & CEO, DuPage Children’s Museum
Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, President & CEO, Naper Settlement