What Philanthropy Means During An Economic Crisis


Global Crises like the Coronavirus pandemic have an immediate and undeniable impact on almost every aspect of life. As we’ve experienced this year with the giant cloud of the financial pressure that has been looming over us since the pandemic, the economy is particularly affected. An economic crisis forces everyone to prioritize conservation and adapt to a “new normal.” Families start to change their spending habits to cover the necessities. At the same time, businesses and organizations have to restructure their programs to survive the economic downturn. In the financial state of 2020, we are seeing and making these changes every day. With everyone around the world having been affected by the pandemic, the universal fight against COVID-19 has been the top priority. The dedication to responding to the epidemic has forced everyone to abandon their previous routines and work together to support one overarching cause.


While the brave effort put towards fighting the pandemic has been a refreshing reminder of the kindness in people, focus on COVID-19 has left many other causes vulnerable and lacking the usual support they count on. Nonprofit philanthropic organizations are significantly affected by these changes because they rely so heavily on others’ generosity and capability to support them. So, during a recession, particularly for nonprofits, the discussion of sustainability becomes an entirely different conversation. The question the leaders of these organizations are faced with switches from how can we be sustainable? To how can we survive? This is especially true for small, more specialized, local philanthropies, whose resources are even more scarce than large, national organizations.


Local nonprofits have been significantly impacted during economic downturns and are struggling during the era of COVID. Many local nonprofits provide vital services necessary to their community members. Still, they don’t get the exposure a larger, national organization might. These organizations turn to their communities and hope the support they receive locally will be enough to survive in challenging economic times.


Marianne Murray, the founder of Carve for a Cause, a nonprofit in New Paltz, NY, discusses what it means to be a local organization during an economic crisis. “As a local foundation, we have a strong presence within our town of New Paltz, and of those who can give are generally not holding back. While the tough financial situation has made raising money more difficult, I’m optimistic we will be able to make our goal with the support we receive from the community.” The local grassroots foundation hosts annual fundraisers for the community to participate in and raise money going toward organizations dedicated to supporting women and families struggling in the Ulster County area.


The Barn at Spring Brook Farm is another local nonprofit that provides services focused on addressing its community’s specific needs. The Barn at Spring Brook Farm or “The Barn” is often referred to as a “safe haven” for young children with developmental disabilities and their families in the West Chester, PA area. The Barn is located on a 17-acre farm run by highly experienced staff trained to provide each child with a one-on-one personalized experience. The programs focus on using farm-related animal-assisted activities to improve self-esteem and promote confidence in the children they serve. Similar to Carve for a Cause, The Barn at Spring Brook farm has become a pillar to its community.


Although these local organizations’ unique qualities are what make them so special, this has also caused challenges with raising money. Nan Latona, an Executive Director at The Barn at Spring Brook Farm, discusses the challenges. “Funders are data driven, they want to know how many people are being helped, they want to see numbers, and know they data-driven good investment...while The Barn’s one-on-one programs may be much more effective since they are customized to the needs of each child, the impact we make is not reflected in numbers” she continued “the challenge we face is how to tell our story in an inspirational and convincing way to get funders to invest in us without the numbers.”


Carve for a Cause Foundation and The Barn at Spring Brook Farm have to work extra hard to maintain impactful, effective, and sustainable services on their limited budget. An economic downtown, like COVID-19, can be the make or break of some local organizations. They work to provide services that benefit thousands of our communities and families, and they need our help now more than ever. No act of kindness is too small. Find the organizations in your area that address your community’s needs and see what ways you can support them right now. That might mean making a small donation or dedicating some time to volunteering. During these unpredictable times, It’s important to support our local philanthropies in any way we can and unite to help them not only survive the pandemic but grow as a result.



Global Crises like the Coronavirus pandemic have an immediate and undeniable impact on almost every aspect of life. As we’ve experienced this year with the giant cloud of the financial pressure that has been looming over us since the pandemic, the economy is particularly affected. An economic crisis forces everyone to prioritize conservation and adapt to a “new normal.” Families start to change their spending habits to cover the necessities. At the same time, businesses and organizations have to restructure their programs to survive the economic downturn. In the financial state of 2020, we are seeing and making these changes every day. With everyone around the world having been affected by the pandemic, the universal fight against COVID-19 has been the top priority. The dedication to responding to the epidemic has forced everyone to abandon their previous routines and work together to support one overarching cause.

While the brave effort put towards fighting the pandemic has been a refreshing reminder of the kindness in people, focus on COVID-19 has left many other causes vulnerable and lacking the usual support they count on. Nonprofit philanthropic organizations are significantly affected by these changes because they rely so heavily on others’ generosity and capability to support them. So, during a recession, particularly for nonprofits, the discussion of sustainability becomes an entirely different conversation. The question the leaders of these organizations are faced with switches from how can we be sustainable? To how can we survive? [1] This is especially true for small, more specialized, local philanthropies, whose resources are even more scarce than large, national organizations.

Local nonprofits have been significantly impacted during economic downturns and are struggling during the era of COVID. Many local nonprofits provide vital services necessary to their community members. Still, they don’t get the exposure a larger, national organization might. These organizations turn to their communities and hope the support they receive locally will be enough to survive in challenging economic times.

Marianne Murray, the founder of Carve for a Cause, a nonprofit in New Paltz, NY, discusses what it means to be a local organization during an economic crisis. “As a local foundation, we have a strong presence within our town of New Paltz, and of those who can give are generally not holding back. While the tough financial situation has made raising money more difficult, I’m optimistic we will be able to make our goal with the support we receive from the community.” The local grassroots foundation hosts annual fundraisers for the community to participate in and raise money going toward organizations dedicated to supporting women and families struggling in the Ulster County area.

The Barn at Spring Brook Farm is another local nonprofit that provides services focused on addressing its community’s specific needs. The Barn at Spring Brook Farm or “The Barn” is often referred to as a “safe haven” for young children with developmental disabilities and their families in the West Chester, PA area. The Barn is located on a 17-acre farm run by highly experienced staff trained to provide each child with a one-on-one personalized experience. The programs focus on using farm-related animal-assisted activities to improve self-esteem and promote confidence in the children they serve. Similar to Carve for a Cause, The Barn at Spring Brook farm has become a pillar to its community.

Although these local organizations’ unique qualities are what make them so special, this has also caused challenges with raising money. Nan Latona, an Executive Director at The Barn at Spring Brook Farm, discusses the challenges. “Funders are data driven, they want to know how many people are being helped, they want to see numbers, and know they data-driven good investment...while The Barn’s one-on-one programs may be much more effective since they are customized to the needs of each child, the impact we make is not reflected in numbers” she continued “the challenge we face is how to tell our story in an inspirational and convincing way to get funders to invest in us without the numbers.”

Carve for a Cause Foundation and The Barn at Spring Brook Farm have to work extra hard to maintain impactful, effective, and sustainable services on their limited budget. An economic downtown, like COVID-19, can be the make or break of some local organizations. They work to provide services that benefit thousands of our communities and families, and they need our help now more than ever. No act of kindness is too small. Find the organizations in your area that address your community’s needs and see what ways you can support them right now. That might mean making a small donation or dedicating some time to volunteering. During these unpredictable times, It’s important to support our local philanthropies in any way we can and unite to help them not only survive the pandemic but grow as a result.

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