Giving back during COVID-19

Thoughts on giving back during the COVID-19 pandemic by BSP’s managing director, Matt Glazer

Blue Sky Partners
4 min readApr 9, 2020

Being part of a community is vital to many peoples’ identities — and if you’re in Austin, you know it’s just part of our DNA to want to give the gift of time, talent, and treasure. Now that we’re being told that the best way we can support each other is to shelter-in-place and stay home, it can be hard to reconcile both things with each other.

If you struggle with a desire to do more like we do, we’d encourage you to sit with that for a moment. It is important to take a moment to sit with the feeling first before you act. Get to the root of why you are feeling that way (if possible) and when you act, attempt to do it mindfully and with intention.

Photo by Ray Sangga Kusuma, via Unsplash

Last week BSP’s COO, Tim Seaton, wrote and published a piece on mental health and normalizing during the quarantine. Our goal was to guide, with prompts and resources, to help others take care of themselves first. We believe that this is essential before you begin taking care of others and should not be a neglected part of the process. It is okay if this takes hours, days, weeks, or longer. Your mental and physical health is critical. Without it, you cannot (and should not) give back to your community.

Helen Keller once wrote, “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” That is the first step to truly giving back.

You may need the time to take care of yourself and part of your self-care might be giving back. Neither journey is right and neither is wrong. Our point is to stress that we care about you and we want you to do the same.

Once you are ready and able to give back, there are a lot of great ways to help. I am focusing on Austin and the Central Texas community I live in. If you are not from Austin, please share local resources in the comments section. We are all stronger when we are all stronger. Let’s build on the passions and knowledge each of us brings.

Below, we’ve highlighted the big three ways most people give. Time is the gift of your valuable minutes, hours, days, weeks, or more. Talent is the inherent skills you can offer to anyone in the community. Treasure is your gift of wealth, which can include money, food, clothes, etc.


Give a little time while you can. This can be simply calling and checking in on a neighbor or loved one. It can be reaching out to a teacher or school who is now wrestling with going virtual. You can virtually babysit a kiddo in your family. People need you more than you know. By giving a little of your time, and grace, you create the capacity for others to take care of some necessary things in their life.

Resources & Examples:


This has been one of the most fun things to see people donate while they hunker down. Two of our favorite examples are Yo-Yo Ma and Patrick Stewart. You don’t have to be the greatest cellist or an iconic actor to give your talent. Giving a little of your learned knowledge is helpful. Businesses are struggling to innovate (or pivot), nonprofits are having to do more with less, our teachers are suddenly virtual and not every student is ready for that change. You know someone or know someone who knows someone that can help.


Resources & Examples:


If you have job security, your dollars are needed now more than ever. It is that simple. When you buy a gift card, that is an interest-free loan to your favorite business. When you donate to a charity close to your heart, that is unrestricted general operations funds to pay for programs and staff. When you donate clothes or canned goods (safely and sanitarily) that is necessary for people in need. Please check with your local nonprofits before leaving your house and donating any goods, and giving what you can help in ways you will never fully know. Please consider donating now and donating any amount.

Resources & Examples:

For Austinites, additional resources for nonprofits and the civic community can be found here. And, of course, if you can, generally do what Michelle Obama says too.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”




Blue Sky Partners

Blue Sky Partners is a boutique, Austin-based consulting firm that manages executive-level projects for growing companies and teams.