From the Desk of Robin Steans – We’re in this Together

Posted on March 17, 2020

We’re in this Together

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I never imagined there would be a time that I would be reaching out to you in the midst of a global health crisis that has closed the doors of schools around our nation and across Illinois. However, this is the world we are in today. All of us at Advance Illinois want to express our admiration and appreciation for the families, caregivers and educators across our state who are managing through these challenging times. We learn a great deal about ourselves and others in times of difficulty and stress, and it is inspiring to see so many people come together to do right by children and families. For inspiring stories and examples of measures being taken at the local level, follow the #ILSchoolsStepUp hashtag. It is a wonderful positive antidote to the circumstances we find ourselves in and a reminder of the power of community.

As COVID-19 forces educators and administrators to repurpose learning across all sectors, we want to applaud the swift and nimble response of the Pritzker Administration, State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala, Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou and school administrators, teachers and staff from early learning centers on up through the higher education system. We appreciate their dedication to keeping learning environments as intact as possible, even remotely. And, we are grateful for those who are ensuring that our students are kept safe, fed and stimulated and that parents remain connected to teachers and providers. 

Our team is in touch with national colleagues to understand how other states are responding to the crisis and to see if there are common needs that might benefit from a coordinated “ask” to the federal government. 

We are in touch with philanthropic partners who arecoming together to raise and pool funds and find ways to put those resources to work to support local needs. 

Most importantly, we are committed to staying in close contact with you: education stakeholders and leaders across the state to understand issues and opportunities and to identify ways in which we can help. 

The days ahead will be difficult and will test our collective resolve, but we are in this together. Advance Illinois will do our part to share information and resources to you, our partners and colleagues, as we navigate this crisis. Thank you all for everything you are doing for our students during this challenging and unprecedented time. We salute you.

Sincerely and in partnership,

Robin Steans