The world has turned upside down.
February experienced a record high close of the stock market. Valentine’s Day saw people dining at restaurants and freely congregating in communities across the country. The national unemployment rate was 3.5%.
March also saw records but for stock market single day point drops with the potential that this will be the worst month since 1931. By St. Patrick’s Day, bars, restaurants, schools, and businesses were closed and stay-at-home self-quarantine orders were becoming the norm. With an estimated two million unemployment claims this week, the national unemployment rate may be 10% by month’s end.
In one month, the country started working from home, the military began building field hospitals in cities, automakers stepped up to produce medical equipment, and nearly 1,000 lives have been lost in the United States.
While we are still trying to understand what is happening and what will happen in the weeks and months to come, the nonprofit sector has not missed a beat.
For 16 years, my company has been dedicated to the heart and hard work of nonprofits. I have never been more inspired than I am today. The nonprofit community has not only responded, but the speed of their innovative solutions is as head turning as the stock market.
Under the leadership of Tony Collins, the YMCA converted its gym in downtown Columbus into a homeless shelter for 204 men with the appropriate spacing to try to prevent community spread. Additionally, its location on the Hilltop has become a distribution point for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
Lisa Courtice, President and CEO at United Way of Central Ohio, began creating Facebook Live videos of United Way agencies to share how their work is changing to keep people safe while meeting tremendous community need. From LifeCare Alliance to Community Shelter Board and dozens more, awareness and funds are being raised for the safety net that is our social service sector.
The teachers and therapists at Bridgeway Academy have quickly adapted to providing services online and on the phone to ensure that families who have children on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities have the support they need to make it through each day.
The stories go on and on.
School districts are delivering food to bus stops, early learning centers are converting to pandemic care centers, craftmakers are sewing face masks, museums and the performing arts are putting collections and performances online, and public media stations are tracking community-based news such as the press conferences of governors and mayors.
United Way of Central Ohio and The Columbus Foundation have launched emergency funds to support nonprofits that are facing financial challenges. Donate to the United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund here and The Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund here.
While the world is upside down, the heart of the community beats strong.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO