Nonprofits Get Creative As Resources Fall, Needs Rise

In December, nonprofits alone furloughed or laid off more than 50,000 U.S. workers because of the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted on their organizations. As of January 2021, about 1 million nonprofit employees were still out of work.

Rick Cohen

Rick Cohen

Many organizations don’t expect to recover for another 18 to 24 months.

“The pandemic has been devastating to nonprofits of all stripes,” said Rick Cohen, COO and chief communications officer for the National Council of Nonprofits in Washington, D.C. “Take food banks, take groups working on housing insecurity, domestic violence, and mental health. The demand for their services has gone through the roof. For arts and cultural organizations, revenues disappeared overnight.”

At the same time, the communities they serve faced unrest as the result of racial and social injustice. And nonprofit leaders found themselves grappling with fundraising constraints, the loss of crucial volunteer support and unexpected expenses associated with increasing safety protocols, remote work and new virtual programming.

In 2019, we distributed about 6 million pounds of food. In 2020, we distributed over 12 million pounds.”

– Cameron Turner, director of Institutional Giving, the Atlanta Community Food Bank

Nevertheless, they say, the new administration, vaccines, loyal donor support and the latest relief bill provide glimmers of hope.

To gain a deeper understanding of how nonprofits fared in 2020 as well as their outlook and needs for 2021, the Ford Motor Company Fund talked to leaders from a variety of sectors around the country.

“We know we will be dealing with the impacts of 2020 well beyond this year,” said Ford Fund President Mary Culler. “We also know we will be steadfast in our efforts to help communities, and the diverse groups of individuals and families within them, succeed.”

The full story was originally posted on the Ford Motor Company Fund website fordfund.org.

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