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Charities Face a Precarious Future in the Pandemic
By Meera Eragoda. Image above courtesy of Still Moon Arts Society.
Vantage Point’s No Immunity report in May highlighted the precarity facing non-profits at the start of the pandemic. In a survey of more than 1,000 charities, almost a quarter anticipated closures or disruption in services. Three non-profits elaborate on the continuing need for support as the future of the charitable sector hangs in the balance.
Still Moon Arts Society
Before COVID-19, Still Moon Arts Society, an organization focused on fostering art, community, and the environment was operating on a “forward momentum,” with plans to grow and expand their programs. While this momentum afforded Still Moon some protection, Artistic Director Carmen Rosen explains that it has also thrown their future into flux.
Funding from Vancouver Foundation has been helpful in alleviating the stress of the pandemic by maintaining staff, programs, and “giving Still Moon a stable cushion…and not calling for the lifeboats.” The continuation of their programs “adds soul and meaning to people’s daily lives and counteracts social isolation.”
Canada SCORES is an afterschool program for vulnerable youth that offers soccer, poetry, and volunteer opportunities. COVID-19 closures meant they had to transition to an online plat-form, which has reduced access to their services.
According to Executive Director Kevin Yang, half of the youth who attend the program face barriers such as a lack of Internet access, and so can’t take part in Canada SCORESʼ virtual programming. “Our program might not be delivering the same outcomes, or even reaching the same amount of people during this time. But it's still needed.”
Yang says flexible support from Vancouver Foundation has been instrumental. “It helped to keep our doors open for sure.”
The pandemic has caused heightened food insecurity due to school and meal-program closures. Backpack Buddies, a food distribution program created to provide children with food on weekends, went from supporting 1,300 children to providing week-long support to nearly 3,000.
Vice-President and Co-Founder Emily-Anne King explains that the funding from Vancouver Foundation was “invaluable” to reimagining their system, given their inability to safely fundraise. “[It] allowed us to increase our programming quickly, increase the number of kids we were serving, [and] send more meals out the door than ever before.”
Despite schools reopening, the crisis is far from over with “research indicating that one in three kids in [Canada] will be food insecure this fall.”
You can support charities like this with a donor advised fund at Vancouver Foundation. To learn more, visit Start a Fund.