Mid-South nonprofits on a downturn amid COVID-19 health crisis

Pandemic effect on nonprofit organizations in the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Council of Nonprofits says its member’s services are being called upon more during this pandemic, but charitable contributions will likely take a hit.

With major fundraisers being canceled because of the pandemic, some nonprofits are having to lay off workers.

Others are adapting to whatever this pandemic brings so they can be available to help people like Terri Lee.

“Being a single mom of three kids I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Lee said. “I had no one to watch them.”

Throughout this pandemic, Lee was expected to be at work, while her three children were out of school. She’s one of thousands of parents in Shelby County who have stressed about where their children would go while they work through this pandemic.

Now, as the community moves into phase two of its Back to Business plan, other parents may soon feel that stress.

“Think if businesses start to open and parents go back to work the demand for child care is only going to increase,” President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis Keith Blanchard said.

Lee was able to start sending her children to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis when it opened up for essential workers.

“I could’ve lost my job. We could’ve gone homeless,” Lee said. “So, that was a big relief off my back. I even told them I’m so thankful.”

From childcare to food to rent assistance the economic condition the pandemic is creating is leading more people to look for help from area non-profits. Funding for those non-profits is now even more crucial.

The Boys and Girls Club has three major fundraisers that bring in about $200,000 each. Two have already been postponed.

“I’m feeling pretty optimistic we can do them,” Blanchard said. “It might be a modified format. It’s a pretty big hit if we lose any of them.”

Fundraisers across the country have been canceled due to social distancing restrictions. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fundraising body ALSAC said the pandemic’s effect on revenue and canceled fundraisers contributed to the elimination of 160 positions earlier this month.

A group of senators introduced a bill to help provide grants to nonprofits to pay employees. According to the Council of Nonprofits, these groups employ 12 million people.

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