Last week I had the privilege of serving on the grant-making committee for the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger. They’re allocating $1M+ in a hunger relief fund to food security and food access organizations across the state. For their first disbursement, they received 400 applications by the deadline last Wednesday night. They asked the grant-making committee to review applications in 16 hours so we could discuss, decide, and ultimately disburse money on Friday (less than 48 hours after the deadline). My eight years of experience doing this work of vetting, reviewing, and selecting social ventures has taught me that 4-6 weeks is best practice (at least for Uncharted’s work), so I was highly skeptical. But it happened; we did it, and the money is out the door to organizations on the front-lines of fighting hunger across the state.
If COVID-19 is teaching me any one lesson, it is that the distance between impossible and inevitable is shrinking. I saw this play out firsthand with the speed of the grant-making process with the Blueprint. But it is playing out in politics where what used to be perceived as politically impossible (bipartisan $2 trillion stimulus) quickly became inevitable. It is playing out in societies where what seemed impossible (like imposing the largest lockdown in the world on India’s 1.3 billion people for 21 days) quickly became inevitable. What we perceive as impossible is often far more possible than we think, and it takes a crisis like this for us to have our existing paradigms disassembled and new ones introduced. Perhaps it’s time we ask ourselves two related questions: “What are the things in my life I am declaring impossible or highly unlikely? What would it take for me to be proven wrong?”