(September 9, 2020 by WDEL Press Release) The state is establishing a $25 million fund using CARES Act money to assist the state's nonprofit organizations.
Funded with $20 million provided from the state's CARES Act allocations and $5 million from New Castle County, the support program will help prop up foundations already doing difficult work on tight budgets hit by the same pandemic-related reductions as everyone else.
"The nonprofit sector has been incredibly important at addressing the needs of ordinary Delawareans in communities across our state," said Governor John Carney Wednesday, September 9, 2020. "They've also been hard hit by the COVID-19 economic situation...We recognized pretty early on that the needs of individuals and families across our state relied on our nonprofit sector to meet those needs and the incredible work that they do."
The funds will be made available through an application process at a new website, DECaresFunds.org, which will go live on Monday, September 14, 2020. There will be FAQs and technical assistance available to help walk applicants through the process.
"Nonprofit organizations in the state had to dramatically adjust their operating models to continue to serve their clients, and in some cases, their case loads grew exponentially as a result of the pandemic and the economic crisis," said Sheila Bravo of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement. "These changes resulted in staggering operational costs...all this while working remotely."
Groups like the Delaware Community Foundation, Philanthropy Delaware, and United Way have been working to provide struggling Delawareans with the resources they've needed to survive through the pandemic. But in order to help those people, nonprofits also had to make costly adjustment.
"There was all these nonprofits with increased demand for services and those weren't just problems for nonprofits, they were problems for our constituents--the communities we serve--and at the same time, there are all these increased costs for materials," New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer said. "You have to get sanitizers, and barriers in the office if you want people to come back, WiFi and all sorts of technological things that many nonprofits couldn't afford. And of course, at the same time, there's decreased opportunities for fundraising, less people were writing checks than before, a lot of banquets and events that would normally raise tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands were canceled."
Nonprofits aiding citizens were some of the most important programs to keep afloat during the pandemic as they were the ones helping others while struggling themselves. The support program will provide reimbursement for operational expenses directly incurred because of response to COVID-19--administered by United Way--and additional funds are available for the costs associated with increased service levels--administered by the Delaware Community Foundation.