After nearly two years of 'devastating' impact from COVID, local nonprofits try to recover

After nearly two years of 'devastating' impact from COVID, local nonprofits try to recover

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According to National Council of Nonprofits Chief Operating and Communications Officer Rick Cohen, the combination of an economic downfall along with restrictions and social distancing protocols across the country are creating a snowball effect, devastating nonprofits.  

"With nonprofits having to cancel events that they normally hold each year, that means loss of tens of thousands of dollars resulting in staff layoffs and cutting back on programs that help people in their communities,” he said. 

Many nonprofits continue to try and stay afloat through the course of the pandemic, and the biggest help for nonprofits through these unprecedented times has been the Paycheck Protection Program. 

"Nonprofits were not originally in that (qualified for PPP loans) and fought very hard to make sure they were, saving millions of nonprofit jobs" Cohen said. "The problem is the loans have already run out and we aren't all the way through the pandemic. The loans were just a temporary lifeline." 

More than 12 million people were employed by nonprofits, which is the third largest workforce in the country, but at the pandemic's peak, nonprofits were down more than a million jobs and about 500,000 of those jobs have yet to come back. 

Nonprofits are starting to be affected by this next wave of the pandemic and don't have the ability to increase pay and become more "attractive" to potential employees or for current employees to stay, Cohen said. 

"There is no way for us to go to the government and say we need 10% more so we can increase pay for our workers," said Cohen. "So, nonprofits are boxed in and financially aren't able to compete with other industries. When nonprofits have worker shortages, they simply can't provide their services to their community such as child care. 

"There are many ripple effects that are hitting nonprofits all at once," he added. "Increased costs, worker shortages, no additional revenue to offset those costs. Nonprofits are strained beyond anything they have experienced in the past with the economic downturn. They have stretched as far as they can and hoping to get back to normal, but just aren't there." 

According to a Sept. 2020 report, conducted by Together SC, an organization that serves South Carolinians dedicated to community service, leadership, and caring through nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, Greenville’s nonprofits are slightly healthier from a financial perspective compared to the state as a whole. Statewide, nearly two-thirds (63%) of nonprofits responding indicated they could survive for only six months or fewer without additional funding. The comparable number for Greenville was 52%. 

Source Name: 
Greenville News
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