Article by Dr. Trent Engbers,
Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Master of Public Administration Program
Nonprofits face real and intense challenges as they deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the most basic level, nonprofits experience the same direct economic effect that all organizations are experiencing. However, the effect on communities can be even more deeply rooted and profound.
Approximately 1 in 10 Americans works for a nonprofit, and the nonprofit sector is the third largest industry in the United States after retail and hospitality. Loss of income affects those employees, their families, the people they help in their communities and the economy as a whole.
We see nonprofits both affected and reacting in different ways. For example, locally, Ark Crisis Children’s Center, which provides childcare to vulnerable families, has shifted services to adjust to a new community need to care for children normally in school while parents are working. Other organizations have been forced to close temporarily, leaving vulnerable workers without gainful employment and recipients without the services they count on.
Some nonprofits have expanded their mission to meet the times. For example, The Catholic Diocese of Evansville converted their retreat house to a self-isolation center for the homeless. Nonprofits, such as United Caring Services, have continued to operate, but under new protocols that place greater reliance on staff and clients in the absence of volunteers.
Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia
Dr. Trent Engbers