After a successful 2023 Chair Affair, Executive Director Anna Kurnizki writes to Community Warehouse supporters to thank them for all they have done to show their love for their community.
I want to start by thanking you for taking the time to read this letter. Chair Affair is always one of my favorite times of the year because I get to see our community showing up together for this mission that we love. And I know it hasn’t always been easy to keep showing up.
Fundraisers and social scientists have growing concerns about our communal “compassion fatigue.” You may have heard this term before.
The theory is that as we’re being bombarded by more and more—rising income inequality, homelessness, human rights abuses—we can’t take it anymore, so we wall off. We stop giving our time, our money, our hearts.
While I was talking about this issue with other nonprofit leaders, the Executive Director at Bridges for Change, Monta, said something so powerful that is still sitting with me today.
He said: “It’s not ‘compassion fatigue’ – it’s ‘helplessness fatigue’.”
We don’t pull away because we don’t care. We withdraw when we feel like we can’t do anything, and we build walls because it hurts too much to care when we feel helpless to make a difference.
This actually gives me hope. It means there’s a simple superpower we can use to eliminate helplessness fatigue. It’s taking action.
We have ENDLESS capacity for love, and when we take action and see the impact, our compassion actually grows.
At Community Warehouse, we’re all about recognizing this superpower, especially right now. We’ve experienced a 150% increase in demand for our services in the past 18 months. And we realized we had a big choice to make. We could keep providing our already-significant level of services and say no, we can’t meet that level of need. Or, we could say YES.
We are the only furniture bank in the region, with 22 years of experience, and our community is relying on us. Together, we can take action, scale up, and respond to what our community needs. Can you guess what we decided?
We made the choice to STEP UP.
We’ve been building a 4-year Strategic Plan based on this vision.
- Ramping up appointments and delivery services.
- Working to create more accessibility through pickups, virtual furniture bank appointments, and more.
- Opening a third location in Gresham in partnership with Metro and ReClaim It to collect more donations, and are now the first furniture bank in the country with three locations.
- We negotiated a contract directly with Washington County to serve 500 households through 20 partner agencies with Supportive Housing Services funding so our Washington County partner agencies can refer them to Community Warehouse without having to pay for furniture and delivery services.
We’re taking action and leading the way. This exciting growth is what you’re supporting when you give to Community Warehouse. It’s empowering to know you have an impact on making this place that we all dearly love more accessible to everyone in our community!
We are not helpless. We help each other.
We are not compassion-fatigued. We are full of love.
Remember your superpower – in taking action, any action, for good, for each other – you are growing love and connection and possibility for a better neighborhood, a better community, a better place for each of us to belong.