A Note to Friends and Allies on Coronavirus Response and Continuity Plans
By Tori Miyagi, Chief of Staff
Like you, we are monitoring the spread of COVID-19 with great interest knowing that communities on the frontlines will likely be most impacted. At Way to Win, we are continuing to put movements at the center of our response. As a community, we have always existed at the intersection of acute movement needs and long-term power building. At this time of global uncertainty, we are leaning into our purpose — and responsibility — as funders and donor organizers.
Way to Win is doing what we do best — making a plan. We are both exploring how this pandemic may impact our political strategies and doubling down on our commitment to support movement leaders’ resiliency and autonomy. Our President, Tory Gavito, has communicated to our members’ listserv how we plan to track and forecast this crisis, and we will report how our strategy is affected, what mitigation is required, and the specific gaps that must be filled. We look forward to sharing more with you.
As of March 9, we have begun reviewing and implementing our business continuity plans. As an intentionally digital-first team, we have an extremely strong infrastructure to ensure our work continues, and I am confident there will be no significant disruptions to our work or funding. Some of the measures we are taking to ensure business continuity and staff safety include:
- We have suspended nonessential business travel and recommended that our team avoid non-urgent personal travel as well.
- We have closed our offices in Austin, TX, and Honolulu, HI. All staff will return to remote work.
- We have shared social distancing guidelines with our team, and we have sent reminders about support available through our Employee Assistance Program.
- We continue to monitor daily guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our association partners, and international ministries of health.
- We will provide regular updates to our staff and stakeholders.
We will continue to focus on resilience for the entire breadth of our movement — from organizers to donors.
For our current grantees, we know that COVID-19 may require reprioritisation in tactics and strategy, and you will not be penalized for any adjustments that you make to protect yourselves, your organisations, or your staff and volunteers. In fact, we stand ready to help you respond to these challenges wherever possible. Please continue to submit information through existing channels and be in touch with your point of contact with specific needs. We will work with our funding colleagues to streamline our processes as much as possible.
For our donors and funding partners, we encourage you to lean into your purpose and find your community, whether that’s at Way to Win or elsewhere. Funders, for our part, must be open and transparent with our plans. If you have not signaled your intentions for the year, we encourage you to do so now so that leaders can plan with confidence.
During our community scenario planning in Arizona last September, we focused on four political scenarios. The principle underlying that exercise was resilience — the ability to survive and thrive through unpredictable, changing, and potentially unfavorable events. As organisers, that’s where we excel. Efficiency and integration may reign supreme in a world with no surprises, but as you evaluate your response in this uncertain time, look instead for characteristics of resilience.
For our partners, vendors, and suppliers, we want you to be fully informed about our protective measures and plans to recover from an unlikely disruption. Please let us know if there are any updates to your plans or if we can be allies in ensuring you are protecting yourselves and further operations.
COVID-19 is not a one-off challenge, and we should expect that the outbreak will continue to grow and spread. This crisis will likely change our businesses and societies in important ways. However, this crisis is also exposing a reality that many of us have already seen and that has called us to this work. The current pandemic — along with threats such as the climate crisis, worsening inequality, and declining civic health — are impacting the most marginalized the hardest. We know the way forward, and we can get there together. When the urgent part of this crisis is behind us, we hope to be your partners in continued learning and action so that we can move forward strongly to tackle the continued crises facing us together.