For Immediate Release
Contact: Cristine Nardi, 434-531-7494
Area Nonprofit Organizations on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Response
Community Call to Action: Our Social Impact Sector is Innovative, Resilient, and Urgently Needs Your Support
Our region’s nonprofit organizations, those dedicated to social impact, are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response: They provide services to the elderly, make sure families have access to food, house and support the homeless, provide care and education to our children, and provide arts and culture that sustains us.
Because physical distancing is required to slow the coronavirus infection rate, this critical, community-building work has been deeply disrupted and social impact businesses are at risk. Many have had to cancel fundraising events. Some are experiencing a drop in donations. Still others, who rely on older volunteers, are losing volunteer support. And those that depend on income from programs and services, like for-profit businesses, have seen this revenue stream dry up in the last week. Our arts and culture organizations, many of whom rely on ticket and on-site revenue for survival, have had to close their doors completely.
And yet, social impact organizations, no strangers to adapting to address systemic community challenges, have already demonstrated how resilient and responsive they can be in this crisis:
- They are providing services in new, innovative ways to meet the growing & emerging needs of their clients
- They are partnering with local government, the private sector and each other to leverage community assets for greater impact.
- They are taking care of their employees and their volunteers while having to restructure their business operations
Many social impact organizations have, by necessity, transitioned to remote work, but those community support agencies who provide front line services to our most vulnerable citizens may not have that option. There are agencies still open for business while practicing responsible social distancing at the same time.
Our social impact organizations are a critical part of the web that knits our communities together. They are our social safety net. They provide services that our government can’t and our private sector won’t. They work hard every day to make this a region where all of our community members can thrive. The business challenge is this: demand on social impact agencies actually increases when there is an economic downturn or community disruption, and yet financial support often decreases leaving these organizations less able to provide support for basic needs, to offer critical services to children and the elderly, and to enhance our quality of life when we need it most.
For more information on how serious a risk COVID-19 is to the social impact sector, see this CNN article.
If you’d like to cover the widespread impact of COVID-19 on the social impact sector locally, consider Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) a resource.
Also below are contacts for our member organizations who are finding innovative ways to help our most vulnerable neighbors through this pandemic while managing major business disruption. This list is also on our website, and will be updated with new information. We’d be glad to help you connect with any of these social impact leaders:
Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM), Kimberley Fontaine, email@example.com, 434-972-1704, Continued services to Albemarle County and Charlottesville individuals and families in financial and other crises through remote operations. Connecting those in need with support to advance self-sufficient and stable families
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge, Athena Gould, firstname.lastname@example.org, Finding new ways to support children in the program
Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia, James Pierce, email@example.com, 434-242-8052, Serving kids virtually, connecting with parents and members by phone and mail, and working with schools to provide food distribution information, and in some cases helping with distribution
The Center, Peter Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 434-989-0180, Delayed opening of new Center at Belvedere and temporarily suspending on-site programs because older adults and those with health complications are more at risk
Common Ground Healing Arts, Rachel Kiliany, rachel@
Fountain Fund, Erika Viccellio, email@example.com, 434-760-2590, Suspending in-person operations, moving loan program online and by phone, emergency assistance and loan payment relief for Client Partners.
Network2Work, Ridge Schuyler, firstname.lastname@example.org, 434-996-6780, Connecting job seekers to skills they need to become valuable employees and helping employers find quality employees they need with more limited access now to resources job seekers need (ex. works skills, life management, health, employment opportunity)
North Branch School, Bonnie Holliday, email@example.com, 434-989-2447, Closed for the remainder of the school year, and continuing with distance learning, staying positive, adapting to new ways in which to educate our students, sharing successes through social media, and keeping the lines of communication open.
Piedmont Housing Alliance, Sunshine Mathon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-217-0429, Keeping residents housed through the crisis while anticipating significant reduction in rental income creating financial risk for agency
Rise Together, Bryan Christ, email@example.com, 336-529-8982, Offering free virtual tutoring, college guidance, and mentoring sessions for K-12 students led by team of trained UVA student mentors; creating a video library on Facebook that includes 2-minute videos from UVA mentors that discuss how students can make the most of quarantine, online learning, and transitioning to college in these challenging times
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Chip Boyles, firstname.lastname@example.org, 434-242-7686, Government entity w/ nonprofit activities and regional policy advisor relying strongly on partner nonprofits at risk, particularly small quasi-governmental and nonprofit agencies who may not be eligible for federal stimulus relief
Wildrock, Carolyn Schuyler, email@example.com, 434-825-8631, Closed it’s Nature Playscape and barn in response to recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health; discontinued Urban Outreach programming and school field trips; trails remain open, however, and families can come out and hike the trails by appointment to ensure social distancing