Helping the Helpers: Why the health and wellbeing of our nonprofit community matters

Each year, United Way partners with hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey area to dismantle poverty and expand opportunities for all. But we do more than provide funding we work side by side with our nonprofit partners to ensure they have the resources and tools to succeed.  

After a turbulent 2020, there’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on our nonprofit community. Layoffs, economic turbulence, and uncertainty have caused many of our neighbors to need additional support. As a cornerstone to providing vital services, our region’s nonprofit sector has quickly stepped up to meet the need. 

But with such a drastic increase in demand for services and with more and more people looking to nonprofits for assistance, we must ask ourselves who’s helping the helpers? 

United Way is committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with the nonprofit community to help them navigate through these challenges and financial pressures. In the wake of COVID-19, 90% of nonprofits nationwide have experienced revenue losses, with 91% having been forced to cut back on their services. In Pennsylvania, the situation is dire, with 87% of all nonprofit organizations throughout the state reporting a negative impact from the pandemic. Statewide, 80% of nonprofits reported revenue loss, and 90% have experienced negative employment impacts. The full report can be found here.   

As nonprofits struggle to adapt and deal with volunteer shortages and fundraising hardships, our United Way has taken action to help keep our nonprofit community afloat. In March 2020, we rapidly launched the PHL COVID-19 Fund in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Foundation, raising and deploying $17.5 million in relief to charities in the first three months of the pandemic. We extended our Impact Fund grant cycle an additional year to provide our partners with greater financial stability. Beyond distributing funds, we also developed new tools to help nonprofits manage their financial health. In April 2021, we’ll launch the Nonprofit Finance Accelerator in partnership with Nonprofit Finance Fund, which will provide services to nonprofits for access to financial management resources, guidance, and customized coaching to aid in managing through a vastly changing economic landscape.

In a city like Philadelphia, where more than 700,000 people live in poverty, too many communities, especially communities of color, are being hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of our neighbors, direct service nonprofits are at the frontline of providing much-needed support. Now more than ever, it’s important that critical resources remain available to our nonprofit community so they may continue serving the pressing needs of our community. 

Each and every day, our nonprofit community aids in our region’s recovery efforts. We’re proud to stand alongside our nonprofit partners and to utilize The Impact Fund in fueling these efforts.

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