An Open Letter to the Nonprofit Community from the 815 Community Response Team
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Thank you to those of you that continue to provide essential services to people in need, and to others who have suspended programs and services to help reduce the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an extremely difficult time for all nonprofit providers as vital programs are disrupted, daily operations altered, dollars are stretched by an increased demand for services, and cancellations of revenue generating programs and events create anxiety. These are unprecedented circumstances that fill our future with uncertainty.
We want you to know how grateful we are for your work. This crisis will not cause us to waiver in our collective commitment, but we do know that you will be required to re-examine your plans. Your priorities may shift and your goals or strategies may need to change. We stand by you and advocate for:
· Operational support from funders;
· Pooling of resources for a community-wide impact response;
· Extending reporting deadlines;
· Simplifying grant processes; and
· Retaining existing grants and pivoting that funding for greatest need.
We also stand together recognizing your challenges to raise funds to meet the needs of the people you serve. We are, therefore, stepping forward to help by raising dollars to support agency needs. The Emerging Needs Fund will assist with immediate and emerging needs of nonprofit agencies serving vulnerable populations in our community. This fund is held at the United Way of Rock River Valley and can be accessed at www.unitedwayrrv.org/covid-19. A second fund, the Recovery and Restoration Fund, is being established to assist with the organizational and sustainability needs being adversely affected by the crisis. This fund will be available at a later date when the Governor and our Mayors indicate it is safe to return to work, we sift through the federal and state support opportunities, and we develop local grant criteria. We have also established a website (www.815crt.org) that will provide information on how to access funds, mobilize volunteers when appropriate, and access resources you may need in the coming weeks.
Please know, we will continue to monitor the impact of the crisis on nonprofits by listening to you. We want to understand your experience and the impact on the people you serve. We are heartened by the way organizations are rising to the occasion to ensure critical services are delivered and vulnerable individuals are supported. We know it will take a coordinated effort to address losses in revenue and absences in staff and volunteers when we return to our work. We are in this together and encourage you to contact any of us if you have questions.
Thank you for your partnership as we weather this crisis together.
The 815 Community Response Team
(United Way of Rock River Valley, Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Kjellstrom Family Foundation, Transform Rockford, The Workforce Connection)