Few organizations have been untouched by the economic devastation wrought by the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Among the hampered are those in the nonprofit community, and the effect on them has been as severe as on any, either straining or causing widespread curtailment or suspension of programs and services.
This has left a significant tear in the health care, social services, education, childcare and cultural fabric of the region, one that will be a difficult challenge to repair. Pick a meaningful aspect of life in the Monadnock Region, and it’s likely significantly supported by a nonprofit organization that’s under duress.
The effect is not just on those who benefit from the programs, services or offerings of these organizations. Nonprofits are a significant source of employment for many in the Monadnock Region, including some of the area’s largest employers, like Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Keene State College. Many of them have had to lay off or furlough staff, adding stress on the regional economy from the pandemic shutdown.
There are some sources of relief available to the nonprofit community, including direct federal funding in the form of forgivable Small Business Administration loans, indirect federal CARES Act funding through the state and other agencies, and some state and local government assistance. But an important source of support for so many is from private donations, and those are seriously challenged during a time when many are out of work or suffering other economic hardship. Still, while many may quite understandably not be in a position to help during these difficult times, many may be able to, and an important opportunity to directly support a number of area nonprofits presents itself for a 24-hour period beginning Tuesday, June 9, at 6 p.m.
It’s called NH Gives, and it’s an annual initiative of the N.H. Center for Nonprofits (of which we note, for disclosure sake, that Sentinel president and chief operating officer Terrence Williams is a board member). It provides an online platform through which donors can easily contribute to participating organizations of their choice. The website can be found at www.nhgives.org and there are more than 250 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from across the state, including a large number from this area, that can be individually selected for a donation by credit card or ACH bank account transfer.
Finding an organization is simple, as you can search by the name of organization, the location, or a specific cause, such as poverty and hunger, health, homelessness or arts and culture, to name but a few. As is customary for online donations, there are some processing fees charged, but donors have the option to increase their gift by the fee amount so the nonprofit organization receives the full intended donation.
A particular appeal of NH Gives this year is that it has arranged a matching grant fund of $250,000, so that any donation to an organization through the NH Gives website during the 24-hour event will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 until the matching fund is exhausted. Thus, acting early in the 24-hour window beginning Tuesday evening will increase the chance of maximizing the impact of your gift.
Of course, there are worthy area organizations needing support that are not participants in the NH Gives platform this year for a variety of good reasons, and we encourage those wanting to provide support to contact them directly. And among other effective ways to make a difference in helping area nonprofits that provide critical services weather the coronavirus storm, the Monadnock United Way has established a COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide critical support to agencies giving relief to area families, with 100 percent of the funds raised going to the agencies. More information about the fund and donating to it is online at www.muw.org/covid-19-relief-fund or by calling 352-4209.
These are challenging times indeed, and circumstances may not allow many who are willing to provide support to do so. But for those finding themselves in a position to, the support now could help provide a necessary lifeline for struggling nonprofits, whether it be through the NH Gives portal beginning Tuesday evening, the United Way’s COVID-19 fund or direct donation.