During the coronavirus pandemic, philanthropists have found creative ways to meet the urgent needs of their communities. With most communities facing every issue at once, institutions are being more flexible and creative in serving community need.
Tayanna Teel Osorio, a principal community relations associate at Capital One Bank, has seen firsthand how the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic also presents novel opportunities to support to community organizations.
“COVID-19 has presented a very interesting opportunity for philanthropy to first provide more direct support to communities in need, but also an opportunity to support innovation,” she says. “Most of our communities are experiencing every issue at once, and it’s important that our institutions are flexible and respond to their real-life needs.”
After growing up in New Jersey and South Carolina, Tayanna decided to join Teach For America in the Jacksonville region as a middle school teacher. She wanted to serve students who deserved, but had not received, the best the education system had to offer.
“Teaching middle school students will probably always be the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she says. “But it taught me that you have to do the work every single day. I also learned that the problems my students were facing were greater than I understood, and my experience in the classroom really made me grow up and be much more critical of the world around me.”
Teaching also helped hone Tayanna’s perspective on how to impact the community through hard work and seeking understanding to create effective, innovative solutions—which is more important now than ever.