When articles about COVID-19 first hit the newspapers, many of us could not have predicted that the virus would become a pandemic and shut down our entire community. As weeks passed and it became clear that it would be a global emergency, local leaders mandated shelter-in-place orders around the country and operations stopped for many local businesses and nonprofits.
Since the early days of the pandemic, Bainbridge Community Foundation (BCF) has been holding weekly sector calls to connect nonprofit leaders and discuss possible ways of collaboration. Through these conversations, in addition to three surveys analyzing the needs of nonprofits, it became clear that nonprofits would be hit hard—most had to cancel fundraisers and revise programs that are significant sources of revenue. According to the second survey conducted in May, 59% of organizations were planning to reopen during Phase 2 but without the ability to hold annual fundraisers or conduct programs normally, most are expecting an average of a 45% decline in overall revenue for the year. Many nonprofits had to furlough or lay off staff in order to handle the financial impact of stopping operations. Others maintained or even increased activities in response to the public emergency, and were in dire need of additional support to respond to the increased demand for human services. These needs may become even more potent as social distancing becomes the norm for the foreseeable future.
This fall, BCF is launching an awareness campaign called #BainbridgeTogether. “It’s easily forgotten how essential local nonprofits are to our community. Some people may not know that many of our childcare or senior citizen support organizations are nonprofits, or that many of our hiking trails are built and maintained by nonprofits,” said Jim Hopper, Executive Director of BCF. “No matter what our needs or interests, there is always a nonprofit here on the island that will be there to help. They have always supported us, and now is a great time for us to support them as they continue to help us through this crisis.”
The campaign will start September 14th and run through the end of October. Each week, BCF will highlight the work of the nonprofits by theme from Caring for Our Kids to Healthy Living for Our Seniors. The foundation will release videos, articles and details on each nonprofit to showcase how their work supports our community’s needs, culture, and values.