To our incredible Spark Ventures community,
It is hard to begin a letter reflecting on 2020 when it feels like 2020 is not quite done with us – the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic still looms over the world as we enter 2021. But as we begin to look for light at the end of the tunnel, the close of the year gives us an important opportunity for reflection. The pandemic has brought innumerable challenges, hardship and loss on a global scale. This is true in our hometown of Chicago, and it’s true in Mexico, Nicaragua and Zambia. And, painfully, those who have been most impacted by COVID are also those who are least equipped to weather the blows.
As a small non-profit (or “small and mighty” as we’ve become accustomed to calling our team), the pandemic also brought us a lot of uncertainty. We knew our partner organizations were deeply in need of emergency support so that they could provide for the health and safety of their communities. But, we also knew that our community of supporters were experiencing their own hardships, both financial and personal. Back to what feels like an eternity ago, when we were first considering moving our Wine and Dine event to a virtual format in April, we didn’t know if that might have disastrous implications on our ability to financially support our partners’ needs.
Our worry was misplaced – as has been proven time and time again, there is no community that rallies like the Spark Ventures community.
The response from our supporters last year was astounding. Despite the hardship 2020 brought, despite not being able to gather in person and fill a room with the enthusiasm and energy of our shared passions, our community made tremendous commitments to ensure our work would not only continue, but could grow. This past year we deepened our commitment to our existing international partners by providing critical emergency support focused on their communities’ health. And, we grew our impact by adding our first local partnership here in Chicago.
While our partners continue to battle the pandemic in each of their communities, they are also making important strides forward in their own programming offerings. We are featuring just a few highlights from the year in this report, and we hope that you will take the time to read about what your support has enabled us to do together.
We’re all looking forward to a brighter future in 2021, but thanks to the Spark Ventures community, we leave 2020 behind us in an even stronger position to support our four partners across the globe.