In this time of a national public health emergency, we rightly herald all healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak as heroes. Doctors, nurses, support staff, and many others are risking their own health to protect our communities from the spread of this pernicious virus and help those who are suffering.
I also want to call attention to nonprofits, whose difficult job of caring for the most vulnerable in our communities just got so much harder.
On the best of days, few of us would have the patience and skill to care for emotionally and mentally fragile teenagers in a fulltime residential setting. Now imagine the complexities created by COVID-19. School campuses are closed; group activities are curtailed by government order; uncertainty about the duration of the outbreak abounds; and separation from families and other support networks could last for many more months. In addition, there is understandable staff concern about infection that could spread among the teenagers, including to themselves and their families.
Or consider foodbanks, already straining, now called to provide food for 10 times the number of people they would normally support. Foodbanks need volunteers to pack dry goods and prepare and deliver hot meals, all while keeping people at least six feet apart in nonprofit spaces not known for spaciousness. Many volunteers, such as seniors, may no longer be available because they are at a high risk of getting COVID-19.
As the world deals with this horrible virus, all of our attention is consumed by it. Stories abound of people doing extraordinary things to help others in this time of crisis. We applaud them. But we also want to highlight the important work nonprofit employees do every single day. Even when the rest of the world is not dealing with a pandemic, nonprofits do difficult work day in and day out. We want you to know that we see you and the important work you do, and we appreciate you.
In a gesture of support for nonprofits, the NIA boards have approved $500,000 in additional funding to the Roger Gilbert Fund. Through the fund we can make quick grants of up to $500 for many types of expenses, including COVID-19 related expenses incurred by our members. Some of you have already applied to receive a grant from the fund and received approval. If you haven’t applied but have a need that can be addressed through the Gilbert Fund, I invite you to learn more: insurancefornonprofits.org/apply-for-gilbert-fund/.
We know that nonprofit work is often hard, even in the best of times. Our privilege is to be there for you when, despite your best efforts, something gets damaged or someone gets hurt and the finger of blame is directed at you. But even at some of your worst moments, like when you are reporting a claim to us, we mostly marvel at your commitment, strength, resilience, and sense of purpose. We are grateful for everything you do for all of us, every day, and especially today. Thank you. Please take care of yourselves. The world needs you now more than ever.