Here are the harsh realities people in our communities are facing: Thousands of children and families need help; women and people of color are impacted disproportionately, and we are seeing a surge of mental health issues across many demographics.
In times such as these, a Chinese proverb rings true: “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” Every day we see examples of our nonprofit community rallying to build windmills:
- With social distancing making in-person therapy difficult, many mental health providers quickly converted individual and group therapy sessions to virtual.
- Blending art with technology, arts organizations are offering virtual tours, livestreaming, and integrating audience participation in their performances.
- Nonprofit staff serving low-income clients are using cell phones to serve those with little access to technology. For example, staff at one local health clinic phoned thousands of clients. Speaking in five languages, these clinic workers explained why people were stockpiling toilet paper and outlined basic COVID-19 safety practices, such as washing hands and wearing a mask.
- To help students conduct online learning in homes lacking internet access or enough devices for each child, nonprofits sought funds to purchase tablets and hotspot access. They shifted staff time to help qualifying families access internet assistance and provided tutors to help students bridge learning gaps.
As 2021 begins, we are grateful that many philanthropic funders and individuals gave generously in 2020 to help meet these unprecedented needs. We are grateful that our local nonprofits stepped up to serve the needs of our community in innovative ways. However, while some nonprofits have seen an increase in donations during the pandemic, others are experiencing deficits from the loss of earned revenue and donors’ unemployment. Some are projecting a 10-to-40-percent decrease in contributions in 2021. As the need is growing, the financial ability to help those in need shrinks. Clearly, more help is needed.
When that typhoon in Taiwan hurled debris through our windows, it was all hands on deck, sweeping glass, nailing panels, bailing water. Afterwards, neighbors helped one another sweep away mud and debris. More than ever, nonprofits need our partnership in clean-up and restoration work—and to continue building windmills. Perhaps consider volunteering your time or contributing resources of finances and expertise. Looking ahead to the challenges—and opportunities—of 2021, what nonprofit can you partner with to build some windmills?