May 7th, 2020
We hope this message finds you healthy and safe during this challenging time. We are sharing an update that we were hopeful would be different. Even as news reports and public health experts provided guidance on the very difficult realities in our city today and on what still remains ahead, The Fresh Air Fund remained optimistic that, by summer, the circumstances would change and that thousands of Fresh Air children would be able to be outdoors once again running in the grass, learning to swim, making new friends and forming relationships that can last a lifetime.
The Fresh Air Fund has made the difficult and heartbreaking decision to not run our traditional Camp or Friendly Towns programs this summer. This is hard news for our staff and leadership – and we know will be challenging and upsetting news for our Fresh Air children and families, hosts, volunteers, supporters, partners and all the members of our Fresh Air family.
We came to this decision with the safety, health, and well-being of our children, families, volunteers and staff as our utmost priority. With what we know now and the variety of unknowns that are still unclear about this summer, the risks presented by COVID-19 are simply too great. The decision was made with input from medical experts as well as our colleagues in the camping and medical communities together with guidance from local, state and federal agencies.
Our commitment to the Fresh Air community remains steadfast and we are planning on how the outdoors can still be a part of the lives of our young people. We know the power of fresh air. We are designing an engaging and fun virtual programming season to keep our community connected and will share more details soon. The virtual programming will be focused on bringing the outdoors inside with enriching and interactive online experiences. The Fund is also exploring other ways we may be able to support our children, families and broader Fresh Air community this summer.
All of us at The Fresh Air Fund are very grateful for the courage and compassion of our medical professionals, essential workers, first responders and everyone who is working to keep communities safe. COVID-19 has deeply affected members of our Fresh Air family, including our young people, and we extend our deepest condolences to members of our community who have tragically been affected. The Fresh Air Fund has served children in New York City since 1877 and as we have during other difficult times, we remain focused on our commitment to our children and families.
During this challenging time, we are truly appreciative for all the members of our Fresh Air Fund family and very thankful for their ongoing support and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times. We are stronger together and even when we are physically apart, we will find ways to support each other. We take comfort in knowing that the strong relationships formed through The Fresh Air Fund will provide a path forward. As we know, memories are made over the summer and this summer, new and different memories will be made through our commitment to provide hope, joy, experiences, and more to our community.
April 10th, 2020
At this time, our hearts go out to all of our fellow New Yorkers, and people across the country, and world, who are struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all face this crisis, we have been inspired by the many ways in which our community has banded together to lift each other up.
The Fresh Air Fund has served New York City’s children from low-income communities for over 140 years and through many national emergencies. Founded in 1877 at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic in NYC, The Fresh Air Fund was part of the response. In moments of uncertainty and purposefulness, our commitment to our mission and community only grows stronger.
Our immediate focus during this crisis has been: First, to continue connecting with children in our year-round programs through virtual meetings and other platforms; and second, to plan for how we will fulfill our mission of serving New York City’s children and communities this summer. As the crisis evolves over the coming weeks, the health and safety of our children will be our priority as we consider how to move ahead. Please check back for future updates.
March 20, 2020
As we face the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 (coronavirus), all of us at The Fresh Air Fund are very grateful for the courage and compassion of our medical professionals, first responders and everyone who is working to keep communities safe – and we are thinking of all of the members of our Fresh Air Fund family.
We are continuing to prepare for our Fresh Air camp and Friendly Towns programs with the mission of serving New York City children as we have done since 1877. As this global emergency unfolds, our decisions will be guided by the health and safety of our Fresh Air children, hosts and families.
Please continue to check our website for the most up to date information on our programs for Summer 2020.
March 11, 2020
In response to the continued developments related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), effective immediately, The Fresh Air Fund has cancelled or suspended all events at our New York City office including after-school programs until April 30, 2020. The Fund has also cancelled or suspended all recruitment events throughout New York City as well as volunteer host family recruitment events for our Friendly Towns Program along the East Coast and Southern Canada until April 30, 2020. We are sad that our much beloved Annual Sugar Maple Celebration at Sharpe Reservation, scheduled for March 28, 2020 has been cancelled.
The Fresh Air Fund, guided by our commitment to the health and safety of all the people we work with and serve, is issuing new policies to temporarily guide our work and workplaces. The Fund has temporarily suspended limits on paid sick days and instituted a volunteer remote-work policy for employees.
We remain focused on preparations for Summer 2020 programs, with the hope that they can take place as planned. As always, our decisions will be guided by the health and safety interests of our children, hosts, and families.
The Fund will continue to monitor the situation and will share programming updates as guidance is provided and decisions are made.
March 5, 2020
Parents, Volunteers, Hosts, and Friends –
As many of you have likely read, over the past few weeks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updates regarding the public health response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States. The CDC is asking the public—including organizations and businesses—to help prepare for emergency contingencies should the need arise. As of Tuesday, March 2, a small number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported on the East Coast in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
We take this issue very seriously, and we are closely monitoring this situation. As with everything we do, The Fresh Air Fund will be guided by our mission: to create healthy and safe summer experiences for our children, staff and families.
As of today, there are no plans to alter our Friendly Towns, Camping, Sharpe Reservation, or year-round programs. We hope that all Fresh Air Fund programs will continue in summer 2020 as planned. We continue to recruit children, families, and hosts to our programs and our staff and volunteers are hard at work to make that a reality.
We are monitoring the situation and will continue to convene regularly about recommended responses. We are mindful of the need to plan for all contingencies, and although we are preparing for the summer with the same enthusiasm as every other, we are also preparing for the possibility of reduced, altered, or cancelled programming if required by COVID-19 and health and safety needs. We will share programming updates as guidance is provided and decisions are made.
No matter what, please know that The Fresh Air Fund is here for you and we will, as always, be guided by the health and safety interests of our children, hosts, and families. Thank you for being a part of the Fresh Air Family.