Rainbows after the Storm of the Pandemic

As of this writing, the pandemic has claimed nearly 600,000 of our fellow Americans’ lives. It is heart-breaking.  The last 16-17 months have taken a toll on all of us but finally hope has returned with vaccinations and all of us learning more about the value of masking and social distancing.  My immense condolences to all who have lost a loved one or friend, or who have struggled to pay bills and maintain housing.

I now need to find, talk about and see the rainbows after the storm.  There has been inspiration and triumph over the adversities so many of us have felt this past year.  This is to tell you about one of those triumphs and to share how grateful I am for the clients and partners I’ve been privileged to work with through the pandemic.

As many know, the 2020 federal CARES Act fund came fast and furiously to states and local organizations to address the pandemic, with a number of requirements – including spend it in short order!  So, working quickly with my client National Alliance for Mentally Ill (NAMI), Ohio Chapter, I helped acquire over $11 Million to support group homes for the mentally ill in Ohio.

My work included research, writing, calculating pro-formas, writing a business plan, drafting a one-page tool (modeled on the IRS’ 1040 EZ form) with instructions, and teaching/training on the tool.  As a result, CARES Act funds were garnered by nonprofit and small business owners in Ohio to help defray the extra costs associated with COVID, such as hazard pay, personal protective equipment, and the increased costs in sanitation supplies, food and transportation.  And, progress is being made on acquiring needed capital for improving the housing assets of group homes in Ohio.

Partnerships are key.  I appreciate the input and feedback NAMI Ohio staff provided on the materials I drafted for this accomplishment.  I especially am grateful to the hundreds of group home operators who provide a caring family and a warm home to people with serious and persistent mental illness, especially during these trying times.  I also want to give a shout out to the staff of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Substance Use Services.  Their leaders heard the needs of these group home operators and of NAMI Ohio and worked with us to make sure these needs and the federal requirements were met.  It is a bravo to us all!

“Sally is the best writer of grants I have ever encountered in my 40+ years of working in the nonprofit and local government world.  She is our housing consultant and NAMI Ohio and our affiliates have benefited in many ways from our work with Sally.”   Terry Russell, Executive Director

Sally’s experience, expertise and curiosity about our field were very helpful to the Vets@Home project as a whole, and to me personally.

- Karen Bartos, CSH
Luken Solutions