Newsletter Spring 2020

A patient at St. Joseph's Shelter on the Navajo Nation undergoes testing for COVID-19.

Photo by Robert Alsburg / COPE for PIH

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In these deeply troubled times, we miss the light and love of Holt and of Stone, more than we can ever say.


We are full of sorrow for all of those who have suffered and lost the battle against COVID-19 -- and for their families and friends.


We know that Stone and Holt would want to help those in need in any ways they could -- and find new avenues of giving at a time when so many good and worthwhile organizations are under duress. In their dear memories, The Foundation -- through the generosity of so many supporters -- has issued several additional strategic grants this spring:


** Partners in Health 'Emergency Coronavirus Response' -- serving people in poorer countries who have been hardest hit by Covid-19. Partners in Health's byword is "Injustice has a cure".


According to PIH co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer, "The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world." Partners in Health has been on the front line of disease outbreaks since its inception. Over several decades they have developed strategies fighting pandemics in the Navajo Nation, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Rwanda, Mexico, Russia, Lesotho, Peru, and other places.


A recent email from PIH explained that "there are important lessons even the most well-resourced systems can learn from impoverished communities." For example, in March, the state of Massachusetts chose to partner with PIH "to proactively suppress COVID-19, not just slow its spread.... to hire, train, and manage a new virtual contact tracer workforce for the entire state based on experience."


The Foundation first began supporting Partners in Health in 2010 when Holt's dear young Eckerd College friends organized a fundraiser for The Foundation to support Haiti, devastated by its 2010 earthquake, through Partners In Health.


** On May 26, Walter Johnson High School gave the William Holt Weeks Memorial Leadership Award held -- by Google Meet -- to Donya Hosseini. We thank Holt's dear friend Nathan Barash for making the presentation.


Chosen by his or her teachers, each year’s recipient joins a strong line of other deserving WJ students. Teachers described Donya as….a clear driving force for class discussions and projects.... having a strong historical opinion and a critical mind that pushed other students to consider why they understood the past the way they did.... offering positive support to peers .... and volunteering to help out always.... a confident and assertive leader.“ She plans to attend University of Maryland at College Park in the fall.


Coming Up:

Environment America's Stone and Holt Weeks Recruiting Award Presentation

in April via Zoom Conference

** Environment America's Stone and Holt Weeks Recruiting Award was presented on April 11 during a Zoom conference through EA's Lisa Frank's deft management. A quartet of dear Friends of the Foundation represented us. Rob Bouknight and Caroline Lacey gave out the award. Susan Park and Nathan Barash were online as well. Thank you to all.

Congratulations to two members of Environment America's Fellows Program who were selected by staff members:  Michaela Morris, Oceans Fellow, based in Boston and Ellie Reynolds, Global Warming Fellow; based in Washington DC.

Environment America's Recruiting Award Recipients Michaela Morris, left, and Ellie Reynolds, right

 **  The Audubon Naturalist Society bi-annual field trip and classroom visits to DC's Whittier Education Campus in late March and early April.


** Pi Kappa Phi's presentation of  The Stone and Holt Weeks Humanitarian Award and the fraternity's We Kare-eoke *Delaware* -- to support The Ability Experience -- planned for April. 


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Other events were able to convert to virtual gatherings:

** World Wildlife Fund's Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund working to restore flora and fauna lost during the unprecedented wildfires of 2019-2020. Stone, as a young man on his modest salary, was a card-carrying member of WWF.


** MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Florida that is restoring coral reefs.


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As a result of the pandemic, several scheduled events on our Foundation's calendar had to be postponed, including:

A blood donor at a Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation Blood Drive with Inova Blood Services in 2014

** Habitat for Humanity -- which Stone worked with in Tennessee and Holt in Mexico -- helping distressed families in Puerto Rico find permanent shelters and new paths to resilience in the wake of recent earthquakes and hurricanes.


** The American Red Cross to help with earthquake relief, also in Puerto Rico.

Holt Weeks, center in green, building with Habitat for Humanity in Mexico in 2007

An Australian koala in the aftermath of wildfires in January -- Photo courtesy of World Wildlife Fund

William Holt Weeks Leadership Awardee Donya Hosseini, left and WJ Presenter Nathan Barash, right


** Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's online presentation of their Holt Weeks Trailblazer Award to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland.


** St Andrew's Episcopal School's online presentation of The Stone Taylor Weeks Award for Excellence in the Study of History.


** The Muscular Dystrophy Association summer camps in Washington and in Chicago -- where Stone volunteered --   are supported every year by The Foundation. This year they will be converted to virtual summer camps. Nora Capocci of the MDA camp in Chicago confirmed to us in an email: "Children living with neuromuscular disease (NMD) are at higher risk for COVID-19 and its severest complications given the respiratory complications that already accompany most NMDs.  MDA remains dedicated to unifying our community and providing new ways to share experiences together, learn important life skills and increase self-confidence."


The online summer camp, she said,  "will still provide a fundamental camp experience for all our participants.  Virtual learning activities will include outdoor and nature exploration, arts and crafts, STEM activities, talent shows, gaming nights, cooking classes and more."

** Inova Blood Donor Services -- which Holt worked with in high school to lead a blood drive -- is taking blood plasma donations to help patients fighting COVID-19 infections.


** For the more vulnerable homeless populations affected by this pandemic threat, we sent additional grants to three different organizations that Stone and Holt are connected to -- serving those on the streets in Washington DC, Washington state, and Houston.


Amid other crises in the world, The Foundation continued to support those doing good and difficult work, issuing grants to:

Students on a Spring 2019 Stone and Holt Weeks Nature Field Trip at ANS

As we face the 11th anniversary of the tragic deaths of our dear Stone and our dear Holt, to us it remains an unreal nightmare. We work hard to connect with them, and we miss them more and more.  We will always be appreciative to everyone who supports our Foundation -- and in so doing, supports the continued spreading of the light and the love.


Always, on behalf of Holt and of Stone,

Love,

Jan and Linton

Holt and Stone in March, 2009, St Petersburg Beach