Dear Search Team, Family Members, Guardians, and Stakeholders:

Starting today, May 1, 2020, the state’s modified stay-at-home order takes effect through May 30th. Since day one, we’ve acted with one goal in mind, keeping everyone at Search safe. We are grateful for each person at Search who has stepped up to lend a hand in this effort.

So much to be grateful for…

Our residents have faced a total disruption of their lives with incredible resilience and are a constant source of light in this difficult time. Our entire frontline staff have shown unparalleled professionalism, devotion to our mission, and compassion towards the people that we serve. They have truly been essential in supporting our family to get through this.

Our parents, guardians, and families have stepped up, too. The Neuberger’s provided a huge Popeye’s meal for the folks at our Austin home recently and that’s just one example of the thoughtfulness and generosity of our Search families.
Austin House residents.
Then, there have also been the remarkable, yet mostly unseen, contributions of our operations teams as they work behind the scenes to ensure Search continues to run smoothly in this chaotic, rapidly changing environment. I’d like to give them all a big shout out!

Thank you to Christine Zanca, Support Living Division Director, and Tami Homan, Director of Operations Support, for working tirelessly to make sure that every day (and not so every day) operations like staffing of our program sites, payroll, recruitment and the distribution of PPE continue without interruption under challenging circumstances.  
Thank you to Jennifer Gledhill, Community Inclusion Coordinator, and Martina Conley, Community Life Coordinator, for making sure that almost every hour of the day is filled with opportunities for remote activities on Zoom, from daily workout sessions to virtual tours of museums to online dance parties. These activities are essential to ensuring that the individuals we serve have meaningful and enjoyable days.
L to R: Tami Homan, Christine Zanca, Jennifer Gledhill, Martina Conley
Thank you to Shawn Kirby, Physical Plant Manager and his entire team for all they are doing to keep the physical environments of our homes and program sites well taken care of and safe for the individuals we serve and their support staff during this crisis. A special thank you for the enormous effort to make our homes ready for live-in staff, which is something we had never contemplated before!

Thank you to Nicholas Larson, Adult Learning and Employment Services Division Director, and the entire logistics team who have been busy grocery shopping, building activity boxes, providing daily no contact deliveries of food, medication and other supplies to our 29 homes. This team has been a tremendous support to our DSPs in the homes!

Thank you to Jackie Rovner, Clinical Services Division Manager, and the nursing and behavioral health teams who have been making sure that our residents continue to receive critical medical and mental health care services without interruption, even as they shelter at home.
L to R: Aurel Dobrin, Laszlo Dacso, Shawn Kirby, Tina Zemen, Jackie Rovner
Thank you to everyone who has been supporting Search in this unprecedented moment. We know this is a scary and challenging time for everyone, but we’re going to get through this together. Search Inc. has been serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families for over 50 years, and, with your help, we will continue to do just that regardless of the challenges that come our way.

Weekly Update on Positive Cases

As of May 1, Search has had twenty staff and ten residents test positive for COVID-19 for a total of thirty cases affecting four CILA homes. As mentioned last week, a large number of our staff cases are related to an exposure at our largest site in Mt. Prospect. A skeleton crew of five staff have been working onsite full time as we minimize the risk of virus spread. This week, there were no new COVID-19 cases amongst our residents or homes and we are grateful for this. Get well soon to our staff members recovering at this time - we are thinking of you!

We’ve gotten some questions about how Search has been financially impacted by COVID-19…

Search has always been an organization committed to astute and sustainable financial management and that hasn’t changed. That said, responding to this crisis has put additional financial pressure on the organization. A snapshot of our COVID-19 related expenses offers an idea of the impact on our budget. As of April 15, Search has spent $56,000 in our direct response. This figure includes over $11,000 in spending on PPE and other medical supplies, over $6,000 in spending on Facebook Portal devices and an additional $7,000 in activity supplies for our homes. There has been $33,000 in spending on our facilities, including everything from sanitation products to off-site quarantine set-up and more. 

It’s important to understand that we are absorbing these additional costs at a time when we have seen some of our income streams diminish. As many of you are also aware, our annual fundraiser, Search Trailblazers, has been transitioned to a virtual event this year. The live event has been canceled, and we are proceeding with a virtual event on Facebook on May 14. Join us on Facebook Live on May 14 at 6:00 PM to get in on the action, including our silent auction, wine pull, and a raffle to win an iPhone XR.

We are most excited to announce that Search is the recipient of a matching grant of up to $25,000 from the Coleman Foundation. This grant matches dollar-for-dollar all contributions to Search between April 15 and June 1.  If you are interested in financially supporting Search, now is the time! Your contribution and impact will be doubled.  

Thank you to everyone who continues to support Search and a special thank you to the Coleman Foundation for making this matching grant possible!
Before we go...

Thank you to everyone who contributed last Friday toward our weekly take out food deliveries to our homes! Our residents and staff are really enjoying ordering out for a change of pace! If you are interested in making a donation, you can click here to support this effort .

Another big thank you to everyone who sent in birthday cards for individuals with birthdays in April! Everyone has really loved the special birthday shout outs!

In fact, we've gotten such an awesome response that we're asking our Search Community to help us celebrate individuals with birthdays in May!

This is how it works -   simply choose a name from the list below, and mail them a card to  625 Slawin Ct, Mt Prospect, IL 60056   . Be sure to include the person’s name you have chosen on the envelope. Let’s make their day special! 
We hope that these weekly newsletters will help the Search community stay connected and informed as we navigate this crisis together. To keep up to date about Search’s response, and to view or download PDFs of our latest notifications please visit our website here for the latest information and notifications .  

All the best!
Cory Gumm
Search Inc.