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  • By Bill Seklar

May 2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic “This is a generation-defining moment. And like every such moment that has gone before, it is not only the crisis itself but also how we respond that matters most.” Amy Gutmann, UPENN President

On behalf of the historic Community House (TCH) and The Community House Foundation (TCHF), we hope we find you safe, well and sheltering in place. We miss seeing you. I miss seeing you. While our building and property is closed, The Community House and The Community House Foundation remains open – virtually and remotely. Though some very tough and unprecedented decisions were made due to the COVID-19 crisis, the virus will not stop our nearly century-old commitment to you, your family, friends and neighbors to maintain this extraordinary “home to those seeking continuity between personal, professional, philanthropic and recreational pursuits.” Those who depend upon us most cannot wait for “normalcy” to arrive. Us too. We will not rest while our constituents – our cherished families, class takers, non-profit groups and supporters – await our vital and essential programs and services to return. The demands for our services have never been greater. Thankfully, some of our programs and services continue remotely with temporary adjustments to comply with local and national directives. The Community House family has responded heroically. Everyone has had truly difficult decisions to make. That we have done so together will contribute directly to the health, safety and lives of members of our community and countless others. We will continue to do this guided by the best understanding and evidence for what will protect and save lives. Of one thing I am certain it will be a gradual process, that will take time and patience, and it will likely differ from the old normal, our old life, pre-COVID-19. The world will look different coming out of this crisis. Many of those changes will be enduring. The exact trajectory of our recovery is highly uncertain and dependent upon many factors outside of our control such as government mandates, the risk of a second or third wave of infections, and the overall economic backdrop. In the meantime, our current situation at The Community House is dire. It is unprecedented. Revenue has diminished, our reserves have been tapped, our expenses continue, demands for our services rising. Our mission is in jeopardy. In response, The Community House Foundation created the “Community House Emergency Fund” to help maintain minimal staff during this crisis – to provide ongoing distance learning and socialization for our children, respite for our families, health and wellness checks for our seniors, limited virtual classroom instruction, community outreach, planning/preparation post-COVID-19, and the ongoing care/maintenance of the historic Community House, its building, plant and facilities. What can you do now? While there are many noble and deserving causes in need today, and rightfully so, we hope that you might also consider a contribution to the Community House Emergency Fund to help us now when we need it most. All donations are tax deductible, and 100 percent of funds will go directly to emergency fund priorities. To make an emergency fund gift online please go to and click the “Covid-19 Emergency Fund” button (top right) on our Foundation website homepage or you may certainly mail an emergency fund donation into The Community House Foundation at 380 S. Bates Street, Suite 223, Birmingham, Michigan 48009. In closing we wish to thank “healthcare heroes in our midst”- health-care workers, doctors, nurses, EMTs, technicians and support staff who risk becoming infected themselves – who risk infecting their own families – heroes who are making extraordinary sacrifices to care for the rest of us. My own daughter Bailey in ER at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, my brother and sister-in-law, Brad and Jill Smude, in ER at McLaren and Beaumont Hospitals. We pray for you and all first responders. We are forever in your debt. These are the times that define us all. Please continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones. This too shall pass. William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House and The Community House Foundation in Birmingham.

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