McCance Foundation Open Letter to the Fishers Island Community

April 2020

First, we hope that all members of the Fishers Island community are healthy and staying safe. Second, we have seen Rev. Candy’s calls for the community to come together and we heartfeltly believe in the need to work together during this pandemic. If we practice caring attitudes and join forces, we will mitigate a crisis and emerge as an even closer-knit community. Today, we want to encourage people to take Rev. Candy’s advice one step further where possible, and to support the amazing non-profits on the island, which make our community healthy and robust.

It is important in times of need to recognize the ways that all of Fishers Island supports each other and is dependent on each other. It is sometimes easy for us to focus on the natural beauty and fun that Fishers Island affords, but to run successfully, Fishers Island is heavily reliant on volunteers and non-profits. There are more than 25 non-profits operating on Fishers, and providing needed services in a variety of areas including affordable housing, healthcare, fire support, the school, the library, the churches (which also provide additional community services), conservation efforts from both the Museum and the Conservancy, and community places to gather like the library and Community Center. The list goes on, but we believe that each of these organizations provides critical support and services to the island – and at this time, all of them need additional support.

This week, the McCance Foundation has assured all of its Fishers Island grantees that it remains committed to each and every one of them and that their 2020 gifts are secure.  In this turbulent time of financial uncertainty, we want Fishers Island non-profit organizations to feel confident in our support again this year. Furthermore, while the Foundation normally sends donations at the end of the year, we have made it clear that should any of our grantees need cash sooner, we will get it to them.  While Covid-19 is known as a healthcare and equity crisis, we recognize that the entire non-profit sector will suffer this year for a variety of reasons. Some organizations will not be able to offer their typical programming and services that lead to support, while others will not be able to host fundraising events. Some organizations have work that needs to continue despite the pandemic, while others are overwhelmed by additional work and responsibilities. Whatever the circumstances of each of the Island’s important non-profit organizations, we know they need financial support. It is important for anyone that can, to show support at this unsettled time.

It is very uncharacteristic for us, the trustees of the McCance Foundation (Henry McCance, Elizabeth McCance, Ellen Pinschmidt, Patrick Pinschmidt, and Fritz Foley), to write any sort of public letter; that is not our way, but alas these are uncharacteristic times. As trustees of a foundation, we are writing this open letter with the hope of encouraging the community to similarly support all the facets of Fishers Island that make it beloved to all of us.  Civil society everywhere is under enormous strain, and the needs of many are much greater today.  So, while we are all socially isolated, we encourage our fellow community members, as dictated by personal passions and abilities, to build stronger ties with the Island’s various non-profits.

Stay safe!

Henry, Elizabeth, Ellen, Patrick, and Fritz

PS: To learn more about Fishers Island’s non-profit organizations please click HERE.

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