Nonprofits strengthen communities by bringing people together toward a common goal. Charities provide critical safety nets and essential services for those in need, enable economic mobility, provide leadership and so much more.
In uncertain times like the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are more important than ever. Some are nimbly redirecting their work to help those impacted by the coronavirus, while others are finding new ways to reach their constituents in the era of shelter-in-place orders.
Here is a list of productive nonprofits making a difference in the fight against COVID-19.
Making a Difference on the Frontlines
News of COVID-19 reaching the U.S. resulted in mass hoarding of household essentials and medical supplies. As a result, there was a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE. The shortfall of critical equipment, including N95 masks and gloves, puts health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic needlessly at risk.
#GetUsPPE was founded by ER doctors to fix this crisis. The grassroots coalition is trying to address the PPE deficit by building a centralized platform to get critical equipment to health care providers nationwide. The group’s goal is to bring health care facilities together with those who want to make direct donations of PPE. They are also working to unite the community of makers and engineers who are designing and building equipment so health care workers get the protection they need while fighting COVID-19.
Cooking Up Solutions to Meet Essential Needs
Even in times of prosperity, 37 million people per year face hunger in the U.S. But with COVID-19 causing an economic crisis, many more families are finding it difficult to meet their essential needs. Several charities have shifted focus to help those in need.
One nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, distributes 250,000 fresh, individually packaged meals across the U.S. each day. They safely distribute food for families to pick up and provide delivery for quarantined seniors. The charity is also driving economic activity by working with local restaurants to provide fresh meals as part of its emergency food relief program.
Give Directly is supporting families facing economic uncertainty. As part of its COVID-19 response in the U.S., the nonprofit aims to provide flexible cash relief to 100,000 families in need. Another charity, SAG-AFTRA, offers emergency funds for rent relief and other necessities.
Nourishing Young Minds
There’s no doubt that the shelter-in-place orders have significantly impacted children and their parents. Some kids are getting accustomed to distance learning and video conference calls, while others have had their school year cut short.
Many educational companies and nonprofits have provided free resources to young students and their parents during COVID-19. Khan Academy, a nonprofit and online resource for lifelong learners of all ages, has free tools for parents (sample homeschooling schedules), teachers (tips for engaging and motivating students), and students (free lectures and ad-free app for kids 2-7), and is pushing forward on its goal to provide a “free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”
In addition to schools, nonprofits that empower young people are also impacted by shelter-in-place rules. But just because charities can’t physically bring kids together with volunteers and staff, doesn’t mean they aren’t making a difference. Girls Inc and Girls on the Run, two charities that empower young women and build their self-confidence, are continuing their important work by launching virtual programming.
Caring for Community
Local organizations are seeking to make a difference within their own community. The coalition Every1ne Hawaii, created by local artists, leaders and influencers in Hawaii, has spearheaded a series of initiatives to educate Hawaii about COVID-19 prevention and unify residents to take action. The campaign #Masks4allHawaii aims to collect and distribute masks to anyone in Hawaii who needs them, and educate the public on proper mask usage; #StayHome offers educational content and virtual music concerts featuring local artists to encourage residents to follow stay-at-home orders.
While there are challenges to giving back during the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are finding ways to support the communities they serve. If you are looking for a virtual volunteer opportunity, check out one of these nonprofits or contact your favorite cause to find out how you can lend a hand.
Photo via Every1ne Hawaii