March 26, 2020 (revised from our earlier 3/23/20 version)
Dear Academy Residents:
We have been intensely aware of and involved with our Academy team members as the COVID-19 crisis has become an all-consuming event in the life of our country, our city and our Academy community. The Academy’s mission of almost 22 years, “to be a community of excellence that fosters meaningful living in an intimate environment of grace and beauty,” has taken on a meaning never imagined. Your lives have been curtailed as our team’s focus on excellence has become one of vigilance to protect your health and welfare against an unseen and highly communicable enemy.
In this I think you will agree, The Academy team has been amazing! When we saw it was necessary to go into a strict quarantine, our team leaned in. Within days, protocols were in place, essential personnel identified, and job expectations were quickly shifted to accommodate new requirements and conditions. Ways were determined to improve communications among our team members, residents and families. Delicious meals were executed and delivered efficiently and safely. Receptionists became gatekeepers ensuring that only essential personnel are allowed into the community, while mail and newspaper delivery became inhouse responsibilities. With the goal of minimizing the opportunities for any contagion to residents and staff, all operations – dining, housekeeping, reception, wellness, health services, maintenance, community life, administration, transportation, homecare – committed to doing whatever it takes to protect the well-being of our community for as long as it takes
We are grateful for all of our team members’ energies, creativity, and resourcefulness as well as their warm and willing attitude. In appreciation of their efforts, we, as the owners and the operators of The Academy decided to provide a separate 25% bonus with each paycheck to reward all team members directly involved with this task of keeping Academy residents safe. We will assess the duration of these payroll bonuses as we move forward and understand more of the impact of this crisis on all of us. While this decision has no economic impact upon you, we thought you might want to know about this decision as it is indicative of our effort to go above and beyond with respect to our team members and, of course, each of you.
Those bi-monthly pay period bonuses should provide a bit of immediate help to our team members as they face whatever fiscal challenges are confronting them and their families at home. But, we also thought it would be great to provide a separate and larger reward to these team members at the end of this crisis. A number of you and your family members have asked us “Is there anything we can do to help?”. After pondering the possibilities, we decided to create a separate “Weathering the Storm” appreciation fund. Any contributions to this fund are absolutely 100% voluntary. Just as we are sensitive to the financial chaos that our team members are facing, we know and are sympathetic to the reality that each of you is facing your own individual and familial economic challenges.
If you are able to join us in contributing to a “Weathering the Storm” appreciation fund, please reach out to Kathy Vavra as described below. Once we have weathered the storm, this fund will be distributed equitably based on actual hours worked during the crisis by our various team members. We appreciate any and all amounts you are able to donate and we completely understand if a donation is not possible at this time. To help build the largest possible pool of dollars to be distributed at the end of these challenging financial times, The Academy’s ownership group has committed to match the first $60,000 of resident contributions.
If you would like to contribute to this fund, please reach out to Kathy Vavra by notifying her in writing, by telephone (303-447-3000 ext. 4) or via her email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can either ask Kathy to add a specific dollar amount to your next Academy invoice or send her a check payable to The Academy with a notation that it is for the “Weathering the Storm” fund.
Please let us reiterate that contributing to this fund is 100% voluntary. We know that many of you have already expressed your appreciation to members of our staff in many ways, such as personalized notes, offering to sew protective masks, or just simple words of gratitude. Wonderful! But we also know that everyone has been impacted by these recent COVID-19 events so we understand that your financial resources may need to be focused in other directions. Thus, please receive this letter in the spirit we are intending, which is solely to communicate an alternative vehicle for demonstrating your appreciation to The Academy Team if you so choose.
Thank you for your cooperation with the quarantine and our mission to see The Academy community safely through this crisis.
With warm regards,
Academy Executive Director: Shirley Berg
Academy Owners: Gary Berg, Joe Romano and Dick Hafner