NORTH CAROLINA -- From the organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight, to the empty science centers and museums, to the groups helping those with cancer– all are being impacted by this pandemic.
“Almost every nonprofit is struggling financially right now,” said David Heinen, Vvice president for public policy and advocacy for the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. “And certainly the ones that are providing direct, front line services now need that immediate help. I think to be sustainable that almost any type of organization is going to need increased support moving forward.”
Just because they're taking a hit doesn't mean there's not work to be done.
“We’re one of the few organizations that are running towards this fire,” said Edward Graham, the assistant to the vice president for programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse. “Other people, other countries are shutting down their borders. In Italy for example, the commander of the U.S. Navy reached out to me because we’re the only ones that came across the pond.”
Boone-based Samaritan's Purse deployed field hospitals and volunteers to the hardest hit areas in the world– Italy and New York City. This is costly, but also crucial.
“We can't deploy that hospital and bring it back to the U.S. through customs, just because they’ve been fighting infectious disease,” explained Graham. “So it will stay there. So it is really a one-time use hospital for us. They are expensive to man, equip, and just to run, they are expensive."
Samaritan's Purse credits not only the doctors and nurses stepping in to saves lives, but the donors to ensure they are financially sound.
But not all organizations have that support.
“The key to our success is our gate,” said Glenn Dobrogoz, the president and CEO of the Greensboro Science Center. “We have to have people coming through your door to see what you have to offer, to provide those programs, and without that it’s pretty devastating.”
When asked about how COVID-19 will impact their organization– 74 percent of 680 North Carolina nonprofits said coronavirus had a significant impact. And when it comes to what kind of an impact– three out of every four nonprofits said they would need to change their budgets for the coming year.
Despite the COVID-19 challenges, groups like The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are leaning on their donors to continue helping our most vulnerable neighbors.
"What we’re all experiencing with our isolation and our inability to go about our normal activities, kids not being in school, so those are things cancer patients live with during their diagnoses,” said Emily Blust, the executive director for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for the N.C. Chapter. “So imagine already having those things and having this compounding that. We really want to be a support to them emotionally, financially, educationally, and continuing through this pandemic and our donors and our volunteers is how we make that possible.”
While there's a lot of uncertainty about the future, one thing all of these groups have in common is they'll feel the lasting effects of this coronavirus pandemic.