Unearthing a Family Treasure
Kathy was quarantining at home this past April when she came across an old VHS tape. The 20-minute short film, Postcards from Boulder, was produced in 1991 by her late husband, Trent, and stepdaughter, Bonnie, to help raise money for EFAA. Trent was on EFAA’s Board of Directors at the time and was always thinking up creative ways to support EFAA’s mission while building community and having fun.
Kathy and Trent were always deeply committed to helping ensure all people can meet their basic needs and have the opportunity to thrive. Just prior to the pandemic, Kathy had been working abroad, in South Africa and Zimbabwe, to support hunger relief and women’s economic resilience. Last April when Kathy unearthed this old family treasure upon her return stateside, she was deepening her work locally on hunger-relief efforts. As COVID rippled through our communities, she watched as school-children lost access not only to their classrooms and teachers, but also to the hot meals that so many low-income children depend on. Postcards from Boulder reminded Kathy of her and Trent’s past connection to EFAA, and she began inquiring with friends and family still close to the organization about what EFAA was doing to meet the community’s needs during the pandemic.
EFAA’s Pandemic Response
When COVID-19 arrived 12 months ago, its economic impact fell unevenly across our community. Job losses skyrocketed in low-wage sectors like dining and hospitality at the same time that school and childcare closures forced many working parents to make the impossible decision whether to continue working or stay home to care for their children. Previously stable low-income households were driven to the brink by COVID.
As Boulder’s safety net, EFAA has been at the forefront of our community’s emergency COVID relief efforts. Since last March, EFAA has distributed over $2 million for rent assistance to keep people in their homes, more than doubling the assistance provided the preceding year. EFAA case managers have conducted over 3,000 appointments to provide resources, referrals and hope to residents in crisis. EFAA has helped families put food on the table through 12,000 visits to our food pantry and through home deliveries. 108 families experiencing homelessness found refuge in EFAA’s Housing Program; the majority of these families lost employment and many contracted COVID. EFAA’s Children’s Program has helped families manage home schooling and access dwindling child care services.
With generous community support, EFAA has prevented thousands in our community from falling into further destitution due to COVID. EFAA plans to continue its emergency relief efforts of financial assistance and food well into the summer. As our community emerges from crisis, EFAA will remain at the frontlines of economic recovery for our most impacted neighbors, with programming focused on housing stability, children’s well-being, and helping people back into the workforce.
Making a Lasting Impact
Trent Cole had personal experience with great and challenging times, and focused on having fun with the process of life. As someone who cared deeply about the community that had given so much to him, Trent wanted to give something to EFAA that would live on beyond his time.
In 1991, Trent and Bonnie endeavored to produce a film as unique as the community it was about, highlighting the many different aspects that make Boulder a special community. Trent’s vision was that the film would help EFAA raise critical funds to support its mission. Trent worked closely with Terry Benjamin, EFAA’s then Executive Director, and a group of volunteers to organize a fundraising event where Postcards from Boulder would premier. Dubbed the “Celebration of Boulder”, the black-tie fundraiser that was held on October 30, 1992 later grew into EFAA’s annual gala event, “Celebration”, a standing fixture of Boulder’s philanthropic social calendar for the past 30 years.
When the film premiered in 1992, EFAA provided rental assistance to 200 families. Today, in the wake of the pandemic, EFAA has helped over 2,000 households with rental assistance. In the 30 years since the film’s release, EFAA’s work of building a community where everyone is stable, healthy and thriving hasn’t changed much. As Boulder’s community safety net, EFAA remains deeply rooted in its founding tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.
A Call to Action
The unprecedented current need in the pandemic for essentials like food and housing inspired Kathy to reengage with EFAA and to carry on Trent’s legacy of offering a hand up to people in their time of greatest need.
“This pandemic is making people aware of what others face every day. People who were stable a year ago, have no stability today,” Kathy shares. “EFAA is bringing some much needed stability back into people’s lives.”
In memory of her late husband, Trent, and in the face of ongoing community need, Kathy generously put forth a dollar-for-dollar match for all gifts to EFAA through April 30th up to $100,000!
EFAA is deeply grateful to those who gave generously at the outset of this pandemic to provide emergency assistance to help people stay in their homes, keep the heat on, and put food on the table. The work of helping people rebuild their financial stability is just beginning.
Thanks to Kathy’s generous match, your gift to EFAA today will go twice as far to help people get back on their feet. Together, we can see a recovery that is more equitable and inclusive for everyone in our community.
“Trent lived life large, very large. There was never anything that couldn’t be done.”
Thank you for joining us in celebrating Trent’s legacy and carrying forward his generous spirit of helping people in their greatest time of need.
Click here to watch Postcards from Boulder
UPDATE 3/29/2021: As of March 25th, just three short weeks after announcing the match, EFAA’s donor community has successfully reached the $100,000 goal. Thank you to everyone who responded to our call to action and to Kathy Cole for her incredible support and inspiration. Together, we will be there for families working hard to get back on their feet as the pandemic recedes.