Dear Supporters and Partners,

As we continue to pivot towards new norms, most of which we hope will be temporary, some of us are struggling with what we are feeling, what we are hearing and what we are seeing.  Last week we gave you an update on how Renaissance West Community Initiative (RWCI) was able to make the necessary adjustments to continue the majority of services for our families.  Since that time, what we are hearing has been challenging, and yet remarkable.  Most families at Renaissance West are proving resilient, however, there are real concerns for all of us to consider. 

Here is what we are seeing, hearing and feeling:

  • Residents are showing up for each other!  They are exhibiting true love and care as they help their neighbors.  One example is in assisting our partners in the distribution of food. And they are doing it consistently, with big smiles on their faces. On Instagram, one resident “3QueensCuisine” continues to post how to make healthy meals at home.
  • In addition to The Bulb and Basket Case Farms, West Boulevard Ministries, Southminster, Second Harvest Food Bank and local businesses such as Trader Joes and Roosters Restaurant are generously donating food.
  • With the help of their teachers, RWCI and Communities In Schools (CIS), our students are adjusting to sheltering and learning in place.  There are stories and photos circulating capturing them studying and continuing their work and friendships through social networking! 
  • RWCI Life Navigators and Program Officers are closely monitoring employment opportunities and are connecting residents to new jobs. 
  • Our adult education classes are continuing via teleconferencing and online classrooms
  • Families are receiving relevant and important updates.

Challenges include:

  • The significant needs of large families.
  • Children having difficulty working with their Chromebooks at home.  Our team has created a simplified version of the log-in directions sheet to assist.
  • Challenges with internet access.  Although providers are offering free access, many of our families do not qualify because of their unpaid bills.  RWCI is working to secure hotspot devices. 
  • Residents are experiencing job loss.  Many only have internet access via their cell phones. This makes navigating the unemployment website for benefits quite difficult.
  • There is very low attendance at the Howard Levine Child Development Center.  RWCI and the YMCA are reaching out to families to monitor attendance and provide support.
  • Increased demand for our Life Navigator services and capacity to serve or reach everyone.

Because of you, RWCI remains in the community, working with our families to resolve these challenges. This time of crisis is when our role as Community Quarterback is most valuable. Because we were already working in the community, and because we already had the relationships and trust, we could immediately provide key supports to help families navigate a landscape that is changing daily.  And as the news of our helping spread between neighbors, the demand for our services has increased. 

During this time of need, many of you are being asked to do a lot for our community. Please remember the critical needs of RWCI and its residents during this trying time for all. Our community needs you more than ever. Your gift today will allow us to meet the additional needs that support 1300+ of our neighbors on West Boulevard.

For more information about the solutions RWCI is bringing to the community and how you can help, contact Mack McDonald, CEO, at  To make a gift through our website, a donor advised fund, stock, etc. contact Amanda G. Schneider at

Thank you!

Renaissance West Community Initiative