Hillsborough County is offering grants to nonprofits impacted by the pandemic
TAMPA, Fla. — During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers, grocery store workers and first responders have all been seen on the front lines. But in the background, non-profit organizations also stepped in and provided crucial services to families in the community as they lost their sources of funding.
It’s things like outdoor sunshades and Wi-Fi hotspots that nonprofits like Champions for Children never thought they needed to budget for.
“We had to buy computer equipment, webcams for families who did not have access to them. We bought tablets from them, we bought WiFi hotspots, and all so that we could stay in touch with families at the very beginning of the pandemic, when there were a lot of unknowns, uncertainty and stress,” said Amy Haile, executive director of Champions for Kids in Tampa.
Champions for Children is one of the only organizations in Florida focused on preventing child abuse and neglect before it happens. They do this simply by providing a free and safe space for children and parents to learn, play and grow.
“So financially it’s been kind of a roller coaster up and down through the pandemic,” Haile explained. “Unfortunately, we also lost grants during the pandemic where funders were no longer able to continue these services.”
According to the Peer To Peer Professional Forum, 75% of nonprofits had to hold virtual fundraisers during the pandemic and for many events like March for Dimes and Walk MS that cut their previous profits in half.
Now more than a third of U.S. nonprofits are at risk of closing within two years due to financial damage from the pandemic, according to a study by philanthropy research group Candid and the Center For Disaster Philanthropy.
Hillsborough County has partnered with the Community Foundation Tampa Bay to launch a nonprofit safety net program. The groups have invested $5 million of $285 million in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to support nonprofits on the front lines of the pandemic.
“We’ve seen our nonprofits increase the level of service they need to provide, but also incur additional expenses,” Katie Shultz of Community Foundation Tampa Bay. “We fund churches, we fund food banks, programs that provide medical services, shelters, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, after-school programs – those programs that are essential for this community and have become even more essential during the pandemic,” she added.
So far, the safety net program has approved about 60 applicants at $1.8 million.
“This is a one-time check. We’ve tried to keep the application process as simple as possible, knowing that these nonprofits have a lot on their plate and we want to get that money to them as quickly as possible,” Shultz said.
Based on their annual earnings, Champions for Children received $30,000 – a sum the group says makes a world of difference to the growing needs of the community.
“In some of our services, our footfall is skyrocketing,” Shultz said. “We are so grateful that these dollars are made available to non-profit organizations in our community because they have allowed us to be here for families when families needed us most.
The last day to apply for a grant is June 10. Click here to apply.
Click here for a list of nonprofits you can donate to.
To be eligible, a non-profit agency must be:
- Physically located in Hillsborough County, including the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace;
- Provide Hillsborough County residents impacted by COVID-19 with essential safety net services covering Housing Stability Services, Congregate Housing Security Services, Medical Services, Food Services, Personal Care Services elderly, adult training and education services, mental health services and child care and education services;
- Active, open and operating (in person or virtually);
- Registered as a 501(c)(3) for one full calendar year prior to applying for the award;
- Fully licensed as a nonprofit and up to date on tax payments/reporting to include a recently filed IRS Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N no later than 2019 or a properly audited financial statement. independent of the most recent fiscal year;
- Directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in at least one of the following ways:
o loss of revenue due to pandemic-related causes, e.g., due to closures, lost sponsorships, inability to hold fundraising events;
o incurred unforeseen costs to comply with safety and health standards and/or reopening requirements, for example, modification of facilities for social distancing; o incurred unforeseen costs for new programs designed to help those disparately affected by the pandemic and its economic effects;
o incurred unforeseen costs for technology enabling virtual work
- Must provide a narrative explaining the impact of COVID-19 on the nonprofit’s operations;
- Must attest to not using requested funds for the same costs for which previously received county CARES Act awards were used; and,
- Must not have received or been approved to receive County ARP funding through a separate initiative, project or program