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This year, nearly 82 percent of local nonprofit organizations have cancelled their fundraisers due to COVID-19. As a result of this challenging financial climate, the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership is launching a public awareness campaign, “Live Here. Give Here.” to highlight the importance of nonprofit organizations and encourage year-end donations to local nonprofits.
The DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership (DCNP), is a program of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. DCNP has more than 150 members that benefit from professional development, training, grant opportunities, and programs.
“Nonprofit organizations provide critical services to DeKalb County and the effects of COVID-19 are significant,” said DCNP Director, Ben Bingle. “Many nonprofits in the county have been forced to reduce their services, despite increased need from the community. We know times are tough for everyone, but if you are planning year-end donations, we encourage you to consider supporting local nonprofit organizations.”
The effects have been felt across all types of nonprofits and in communities throughout DeKalb County. A few examples of these include Safe Passage of DeKalb County, Open Door Rehabilitation Center, Egyptian Theatre, and the DeKalb County History Center.
Safe Passage is DeKalb County’s domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to skyrocketing rates of domestic violence and abuse. At the same time, the costs of providing services safely and the lack of fundraising opportunity has stretched budgets to the breaking point. “Raising funds to safely shelter, counsel, and support survivors of domestic violence is a life or death issue,” said Safe Passage Communication and Prevention Services Director, Lynnea Erickson Laskowski. “We can’t overstate how important it is to give and continue to keep services like Safe Passage fully operational for survivors during these unprecedented times.”
In Sandwich, Open Door Rehabilitation Center provides services and programming for some of the most vulnerable citizens in DeKalb County, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many individuals served by Open Door have pre-existing conditions and are seniors, two groups at high risk for COVID-19 complications. Rita Potter, Executive Director of Open Door said, “We have creatively implemented programs, including the use of technology, in order to ensure individuals’ safety while still maintaining emotional and mental health.” To date, Open Door has spent over $14,000 on personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to keep its clients and staff safe. This unexpected expense combined with the cancellation of their two largest fundraisers in 2020 has taken a dire financial toll on Open Door.
COVID-19 has forced other organizations to completely close to the public for part of this year, including museums, historical societies, and theatres.
“COVID-19 has had an absolutely devastating financial impact on the live entertainment industry, with the Egyptian Theatre being no exception. We went from having touring shows, community performances or movies on almost every weekend night to an empty calendar for well over six months,” said Jeanine Holcomb, Egyptian Theatre Marketing and Communications Director. “The Egyptian Theatre has been through 91 years of major events and we want to ensure that this great piece of history is still here for generations to come. The theatre belongs to this community and it is the generosity of our community members that will bring us to the other side of COVID-19.”
Like many others, the DeKalb County History Center closed in mid-March. Despite reopening with limited hours in August, the History Center has not held any programs in-person. “The focus has been on virtual educational resources, videos, and online opportunities. However, due to the cancellation of programs and postponement of an exhibit opening, general operating income has decreased,” said Michelle Donahoe, Executive Director of the History Center.
“Nonprofits touch our lives in so many ways from social services and counseling to recreation and the arts, plus they employ around nine percent of our local workforce,” said Bingle. “If you are in a position to give back this year, take a look at our incredible local nonprofits and all the good they do in communities throughout DeKalb County.”
Donations can be made directly to nonprofit organizations, typically by check payment or by visiting their website and donating via credit card. For a list of nonprofit DCNP members, visit: www.dcnp.org/live-here-give-here.
The DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership (DCNP) is a membership-based program of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. Established in 2012, DCNP’s mission is to strengthen the nonprofit sector through leadership, professional development, and collaboration.
Photo courtesy of Bob Myers.