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We recently received a message from our New Orleans Chapter letting us know how they—and the city—were doing in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The news isn’t great.

Caitlan Scanlan, the president of the chapter, has suspended all chapter functions for the foreseeable future, with most of the metro area and beyond without power, water and other basic services at the time. In the meantime, many members have evacuated the city to different parts of the United States. 

While relief services have been progressing well, and I know some members have returned to the city, this is a difficult time for the chapter and for all those in New Orleans. We’ll be working with the chapter as it seeks to move forward, and its members help the city to rebuild. 

Even as I grieve for New Orleans, I have also been thinking about the 20th anniversary of 9/11. While a lot of time has passed since the event, and much has been written about its impact, that day still holds tough and raw feelings for many of us. Grief, sadness, anger—we still need to feel these things and understand how they have affected ourselves, our colleagues and indeed the entire world.

These aren’t happy or optimistic things to think about, admittedly, but they are reminders about the way we are all connected as the AFP community and family—and our place and role in society. 

As fundraisers, you spend your career—your whole life—working to help people and improve communities. And then one day, it is you and your community that needs help. Even as you work on a cause, you may find your life changed, altered, even shattered by forces beyond your control. I think we all felt this with the pandemic, where every day felt like something new was going to topple our thin veneer of control.

What we have in these situations is our community. Perhaps not immediately, but when we need each other. 

Members of the New Orleans Chapter are probably not thinking about their AFP membership right now—they have far more important things to be focused on and need to take time for themselves, their family and their friends.

But when they’re ready, the AFP family will be there. We will offer a safe space and a stable harbor. We will provide needed distractions and inspiring reminders of our higher purpose. And we will give understanding and support because that is our life calling—giving to others to help create impact and change the world. 

I have often used the term #OneAFP to reflect how we are all connected—what happens to one of us affects us all. But it also means that when something happens to one of us, or many of us, we help each other. 

Whatever event is happening, whatever we might be feeling, let’s be sure to take care of each other. Check in on each other and see how we’re doing. A few kind words, a simple act of kindness, can go a long way.

We may not be related, but we are all members of the same community and family. We have so much in common and so much to give. And we are all dedicated to creating impact and changing the world, one person—and in some cases, one member—at a time.

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22 Sep 2021 AFP News
22 Sep 2021 AFP News
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