“While the charitable nonprofit community has made and will continue to make extraordinary contributions to the wellbeing of individuals and communities, the close of 2020 leaves nearly one-million nonprofit workers unemployed, funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans have long since run out, unemployment bills have come due, and charitable giving continues to decline or failed to keep up with expenses.”
Last year, crisis was the order of the day for local nonprofits. Despite this turmoil, nonprofit leaders went above and beyond to continue serving communities. Fair Chance knows how vital community-based nonprofits are to our neighborhoods and has been actively engaged in promoting equitable policies for nonprofits that serve youth. The effects of the pandemic on children and families has made this advocacy more urgent than ever (see my article in Nonprofit Quarterly). To meet the needs of communities, we must recognize and sustain the organizations that serve them.
Fair Chance is a member of The OST (Out of School Time) Coalition, convened by DC Action. The Coalition has worked hard this past year to position community-based nonprofits as key partners for schools in addressing student learning during recovery. Andria Hollis Tobin, Executive Director of Kid Power and a Fair Chance alumni partner, has used the Coalition’s platform to highlight missed opportunities for collaboration with schools. When the pandemic began, Andria contacted a school partner to ask if Kid Power could use the school as a site for a food market. The school contact said, “I can’t talk to you right now – I have families who don’t have chrome books”. Andria later recounted, “I was already out there delivering supplies to parents and I could have delivered those chrome books as well”. Through DC Action’s blog and in Coalition meetings with principals and education administrators, Andria has underscored that she and her team are ready and able to support more schools and students.
For nonprofits, recognition of their impact is important but funding remains critical. As a member of the Coalition for Nonprofit Equity, I along with other nonprofit leaders have worked with the DC Council on the creation and passage of the Non-Profit Compensation Fairness Act of 2020. Recognizing the critical services the nonprofit sector provides to DC residents, this law ensures city agencies pay nonprofits for the full costs of doing business associated with DC contracts and grants instead of the usual practice of arbitrarily capping indirect cost rates. On Tuesday, April 20, the Coalition for Nonprofit Equity held a briefing hosted by Fair Chance that brought together over 60 nonprofit leaders and city officials to learn more about what the law means for their organizations and to educate government agencies about their responsibility to enforce this new policy.
Fair Chance will continue to represent our network and the needs of all nonprofits for fair and equitable treatment by government agencies and to lift up the voices of leaders and capabilities of these amazing nonprofit organizations that provide such critical services for our communities.
Gretchen Van der Veer, PhD
Chief Executive Officer