FEMA Emergency Pandemic Coronavirus

(Philadelphia City Hall, Pixabay)

The numbers are sobering; nearly 3.3 million individuals have filed for unemployment benefits across the United States, breaking job loss records set by past recessions in March 2009 and October 1982. As city and statewide lockdowns over COVID-19 continue, the economic situation will only worsen.

Congress’ enormous $2.2 million stimulus package will hopefully stave off some of the damage, but the ripple effects of this new recession will last for many months to come. With more Americans struggling to get by, philanthropic giving will most likely shrink, hampering nonprofits as they work to provide services for those in need.

Frontline nonprofit professionals also face health risks caused by the pandemic. This week, the Philadelphia-based hunger relief organization Philabundance announced that it was temporarily ceasing food deliveries after an employee was exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

Clearly, nonprofits need robust support more than ever.

The City of Philadelphia has teamed up with local foundations to launch the PHL COVID-19 Fund “to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic, providing urgent resources throughout the Philadelphia region.” A statement from city officials details the streamlined process through which nonprofits can receive support through the fund during the pandemic:

The PHL COVID-19 Fund…will rapidly provide grants to Greater Philadelphia non-profit organizations with a successful track record of serving at-risk populations such as seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are experiencing homelessness or are economically disadvantaged. These grants will allow the nonprofits to continue providing community safety nets such as food pantries and health services, as well as preparedness and protection services, such as hygiene supplies and access to accurate information.

This is an excellent start to ensuring that vulnerable populations receive the support they need. But city and state funding will only last so long before rainy day funds run out. The federal government must take further action before it’s too late.

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