Coronavirus Response: Ecosystem Tools You Can Use

3 min readMar 27, 2020

One silver lining amid our bleak predicament is that more folks than usual are taking time to appreciate what they love about their own ecosystems. More folks are realizing that the healthier our local ecosystems are, the more likely our people and the features we love — like local food and culture — are to survive.

As part of that, Ecosystem Builders, community organizers and other innovators are stepping to create the tools and take action to address the needs of local business, health care professionals, artists, employees and more. Many can be shared pretty easily with other ecosystems around the country. While we’ll expect that those places with tighter scenes and spirits will do especially well, that’s no reason other places can’t use these approaches to develop stronger support networks even as they help needs.

Making Gift Cards & Support Local Biz (More) Easy
We’re all looking for ways to support the many businesses that are suffering. One of the more direct ways is through tools and directories — and Rick Turoczy and the folks at Built Oregon have a developed a particularly good platform to identify and support local stores and venues that sell gift certificates or otherwise support social distancing through online orders, curbside pickup, etc. Read the blog post here:

Lots of different places across the country are sharing similar resources — like this one from the Idaho Women’s Business Center (HT Norris Krueger). I like the way this approach enables sorting by sector and services, and also enables wider community support and participation in a transparent way. (I’ve got a Google form and Airtable ‘base’ you can copy if you’d like to get started.)

If you know of businesses that are interested in setting up gift cards, but don’t know where to start, Dell Gines shared a link from Merchant Maverick which shares good tips and resources — and there are more links, stories and resources at Ecosystems Unite.

Meals for Emergency/Health Care Workers
Putting that challenge up front to support hospital workers was this quick post from Hunter Walk:

I love how Frank Barbieri has set this up so any community can replicate:

Communities in Action — like Maywood
It’s not every day that a community effort gets a shout-out from someone like President Obama, but this Neighborhood Response Group in the DC area did — and deservedly so.

The story highlights Michele Hansen ’s work with the Maywood Community Association. She’s shared the process document for running this elsewhere here (and below).

#Be a Neighbor Campaign?
Given so much need from so many quarters, finding ways to gather and connect volunteers for a wide range of causes can help. If your community is looking for a platform for organizing and including volunteers, #BeANeighbor from Donna Harris and VOMO is a relatively easy way to get started.

“Communities are the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, and nonprofits are the frontline for critical community services. We’re mobilizing every possible volunteer now so we can ready to help these organizations in the coming days and weeks.” —

(Robust) Community/Ecosystem Builder Slack
I’m lucky to be working with kick-ass Ecosystem Builders and Community leaders through Forward Cities, ESHIP and more locally in New Mexico — and many of us already have well-organized slack channels that pre-date this crisis. One of the best, most thoughtful Ecosystem Builders I get to work with in the ESHIP Network is Australia-based Chad Renando. One thing they’ve done is stand up a slack community which could be a model for other ecosystem-wide slack groups.

It’s in its early stages, but it feels like one thing they’ve gotten right is providing just enough structure for meaningful conversation and sharing of resources.

What are you doing in your community? Does your community or network have a similar tools and/or platforms that you might share?




working together to grow healthier entrepreneurial ecosystems in New Mexico and across the US.