The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world as we know it. SOBANS across the US and Canada, like the rest of our global community, are facing unprecedented challenges as the world seeks to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19. The Fote administration’s approach to handling the crisis has been guided by two main concerns – the health and well-being of SOBANS and their families, and the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to SOBANS and their families. President Fote, in an address to SOBA America Nation on May 15th, 2020, laid out details of his administration’s COVID-19 response. The President noted that the response is divided in five phases, carefully planned and implemented over a period of several months .
Phase one of the Fote administration’s response was to take decisive action that will prevent SOBANS and their families from getting into harm’s way by addressing our 2020 National Convention which was scheduled to be in Dallas on Memorial Day weekend. After discussions with convention vendors and consultations with SOBANS, the NLT brought the matter with recommendations to the board of directors. On March 22nd, with input from SOBANS, and with the consent of the board of directors, our 2020 National Convention was canceled, long before stay-at-home orders essentially shut down all of America and Canada. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to SOBANS was also one of the major considerations in the decision to cancel rather than postpone the convention to a later date this year.
Phase two of the administration’s response was also focused on health and well-being of SOBANS and their families, as cases of COVID-19 were rising exponentially in the US and Canada. The administration started a sensitization campaign to help SOBANS understand the importance of the CDC and other guidelines and offer some helpful tips to prevent spread of COVID-19. This was done through short COVID-19 Update videos distributed by our Communication Department through our SOBA America TV Network in March and April. The videos are all available on our SOBA America TV YouTube channel. The administration also shared some detailed advice on steps to take if a SOBAN or loved one had symptoms, in the April edition of the President’s monthly e-mail message to SOBANS.
Phase three of the administration’s response is equally focused on the health and well-being of our SOBA America family. The leadership team is reaching out to SOBANS individually to check on their well-being and offer specific advice as needed. SOBA America is blessed to have a leader in President Fote who is an emergency physician and physician leader on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. He has called close to 600 SOBANS and spoken to over 500 of them over the past few weeks , starting in April, to bring comfort and show support and to just check on them and find out how they are doing. President Fote has called on fellow SOBANS follow this example and call each other to check on them. “This is the time when we need each other more than ever before. You can make a difference with a simple phone call,” he said, in his address to SOBA America Nation.
Phase four of the administration’s response involves providing financial assistance to SOBANS and SOBANESE who have been most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This is an adaptation of the administration’s Lend-A-Hand Initiative, which is one of the core priorities that President Fote had announced during last year’s presidential campaign to assist SOBANS with financial and professional needs. Framework for the program has developed by the Philanthropy task team which was commissioned by the President on June 29th, 2019. The President, in his May 15th, 2020 address, announced the launching of the SOBA America Lend-A-Hand Initiative. The Lend-A-Hand initiative is open to aiding any SOBAN in the USA and Canada or their SOBANESE, with a demonstrable need, regardless of the SOBAN’s registration status. In order to ensure that SOBA America can best assist SOBANS and SOBANESE affected by COVID-19, the President directed the Office of Philanthropy to process only COVID-19 related assistance needs for the next 6 months. Information is available on our website or by calling 1 888 504 SOBA, Extension.
As part of funding for the Lend-A-Hand Initiative, First Lady Laura and President Fote donated $5,000 to the cause, fulfilling a campaign promise . The President called on SOBANS who have the ability and the desire to help to consider making a tax-deductible donation to this fund. Donations can be made via our website http://www.sobamerica.org. or via cash app to $sobaamericafinance. If you use cash app, please include your name and phone number so your kindness can be appropriately acknowledged. The President also made an additional pledge from First Lady Laura and himself to match any donation from a SOBAN made between now and June 15th, up to $5,000.
Phase five of the administration’s COVID-19 response is a show of solidarity to all currently registered members of SOBA America for the 2019/2020 year. The administration has dubbed it the Vitamin C COVID-19 relief, which is a $50 payment every registered member. Since Vitamin has been shown to boost our immune system and can play a vital role in preventing complications from COVID-19 infection. The administration wants SOBANS to use these funds to buy Vitamin C for themselves and their families. SOBANs who do not need the relief payment are encourage to consider donating their $50 to the Lend-A-Hand Initiative, which will be used to provide much needed help to SOBANs who have been affected more by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, the Fote administration has a bold, comprehensive and well thought-out plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic. It has put SOBANS health and wellness, as well as potential financial hit to them from the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of its policy.