Nevada County nonprofit funding in jeopardy | TheUnion.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Nevada County nonprofit funding in jeopardy

John Orona
Staff Writer

Nevada County nonprofits, forced to change their operations and adapt services to meet the community’s changing needs in the middle of pandemic, are in limbo.

While local community service organizations have managed to respond to the immediate crisis, their future funding and the stability it brings to people in need are uncertain.

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, most nonprofits get just 10% of their funding from individual donations, while about 80% comes from government grants, contracts and fees for services.

The FREED Center of Independent Living, which supports independence and self-determination for seniors and people with disabilities, received about 59% of its $1.47 million budget last year from the state Department of Rehabilitation and federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Support Local Journalism


An additional 25% of its funding came from other grants and contracts, which could also include money from the state or federal government apportioned through counties, while 3% came from fundraising.

According to FREED Executive Director Ana Acton, a proposed 20% funding cut for individual living resources in the recent May revision to the state’s budget are concerning for the community.

“We do have some donations and fundraising, but the majority of our funding is state and federal,” Acton said. “The concern is the current budget proposal cuts funding to multiple different community-based services that keep people living in their homes in a lower level of care.”

As the pandemic has forced the organization to change the way it serves clients — like interacting remotely — the specter of future funding cuts has forced a conversation about how much its services will change in the future.

“After any major event like this it’s important to not just go back to ‘normal,’” Acton said. “We’re trying to build our infrastructure and our services in a way that will meet the changing times and the needs in the community.”

Acton said while some changes have been beneficial, allowing staff to work from home and engage clients they may not normally serve, she’s unsure how much will be maintained without a firm projection of what their funding will allow.

HARD TO PREDICT

Other nonprofits, like Child Advocates of Nevada County, agreed that next year funding from both the government and the public will be hard to predict. The organization provides education, prevention, support, and advocacy services for children at risk of neglect and abuse, and also relies largely on state contracts.

The group had to cancel its annual luncheon this year, which typically contributes $20,000 to its $1.2 million budget.

Child Advocates Executive Director Marina Bernheimer said many of the organization’s programs rely on building connections with families, and that has continued despite adaptations. Since the pandemic, Child Advocates has turned its Healthy Babies Program — which supplies families with resources for food, abuse and counseling through in-home visits — into a phone-banking clearinghouse of information on COVID-19 resources.

“We’re able to form really caring, nonjudgmental relationships with families in order to deliver services,” Bernheimer said. “We’re absolutely keeping in touch with the hundreds of families we serve, and shifting into a critical role of spreading information resources about the pandemic as well as resources available to them.”

The organization has also continued its Court Appointed Special Advocate program, which pairs children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect with volunteer mentors who ensure their needs are being met and wishes are known to the court.

While they’ve had to keep in touch over the phone or through video, Bernheimer said they are making regular contact. She is, however, worried about children suffering from abuse now, while sheltering in place.

“Children are identified when they’re out in the community, because a teacher or a coach or a neighbor sees them and has a concern that there is abuse occurring,” Bernheimer said. “Because everybody is in their home, the eyes of our community is not on our kids, so we’re not able to identify them.”

‘NEEDED MORE THAN EVER’

Bernheimer said the organization has trained a cohort of 10 volunteers to step in when the shelter in place is over, as she expects a spike in cases.

“We know that for some of these kids school represented a safe haven and a refuge from dysfunctional families,” Bernheimer said. “We’re terribly concerned about kids who are sheltering in place in homes that are unsafe with parents that have more stresses than there were before the pandemic.”

While Child Advocates is able to fund itself through contracts this year, Bernheimer said she’s also worried about how the economic downturn will affect the community’s ability to fund its work.

“We’re worried about community support, with people not throwing money at nonprofits right now,” she said. “Our services will be needed more than ever after the pandemic because of financial and mental health issues that families are enduring.”

Local funding like the Nevada County Relief Fund, set to disburse its first $100,000 to small businesses and nonprofits next week, may help immediately. However, nonprofits are ultimately looking for sustainable funding for long-term programming.

FREED was awarded some federal funding in response to COVID-19, but Acton said that won’t make up for the loss of ongoing funding.

“The CARES Act funding is very specific to COVID-19,” Acton said. “We’re seeing an increase in need in the community, so those funds are being used in new ways, and they’re short-term funding, so that’s not going to be available on an ongoing basis, but there’s the potential for the state budget cuts could be ongoing.”

Acton said while many things are yet to be settled, initial signs do not look good.

“The impact of the economy due to COVID-19 and how it will affect nonprofits going forward still remains to be seen,” she said. “If the current state budget is any indication, there’s significant cuts being proposed from many different areas, including disability and aging services.”

MORE IN THIS SERIES

Nevada County theaters go dark for the year

Movie theaters struggle to cover rent, utilities in an industry that typically operates with narrow profit margin

‘Planning for all of it’: Nevada City Film Festival moves online for this year’s event

Nevada County’s music festivals look to virtual events to build community, recoup finances

For Nevada County musicians, the show goes online

Nevada County artists adapt, host online galleries, concerts and workshops

Street fair cancellations in Nevada City, Grass Valley a huge economic hit

‘We are the recovery; we are essential’: Nevada County Arts Council survey reveals artists, art organizations are struggling

Who’s zooming whom? Creativity among Nevada County artists in the pandemic era

Nevada County Arts Council receives $112K Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education grant for new project

Nevada County nonprofit funding in jeopardy

Nonprofits struggle to serve clients during pandemic shutdown

Nevada County animal rescue groups see surge in fosters, adoptions

Nevada County’s thrift stores move ahead with reopening

Possible postponement, cancellation of Nevada County Fair would negatively impact several Nevada County nonprofits

Local nonprofits feeling the effect of canceled, postponed fundraising events due to COVID-19

Feeding Nevada County: Effort to help those hungry bolstered by partnerships between nonprofits (VIDEO)

Nevada County youth organizations adjust to public health requirements

Volunteer work faces changes at Nevada County nonprofits amid restrictions

‘Do you have reserves?’ Still much uncertainty over how nonprofits will fare in coming months, years

Government business continues in isolation during COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County, cities collaborate to reopen safely

Wildfire prep in Nevada County continues virtually during pandemic

‘This is why we signed up’: Librarian, homeless shelter manager continue working during pandemic

Financial aid offers much-needed relief in western Nevada County for those who can get it

Grass Valley trims staff in response to COVID-19 shutdown

Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed

Nevada County property tax on par despite pandemic

Nevada County health workers say they currently have sufficient supply of personal protective equipment

Hospice of the Foothills continues providing end-of-life care during COVID-19 crisis

Senior care facilities on lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic

Residents of Nevada County senior living communities staying connected

‘Continue to plan and prepare’: Hospital analyzes finances, anticipates federal funding to ensure financial stability

Nurses in Nevada County and the region talk about why they love their jobs

Nevada County not planning to release more detailed COVID-19 case data

Officials: Testing is key in calls to reopen in Nevada County, across California

Nevada County doctors change approach to providing care due to COVID-19

The trifecta: Public health experts recommend testing, contact tracing and supported isolation to phase into a reopened world

Investigating the impact: Lack of revenue, uncertain return date causes concern for arts and entertainment venues

Impacts of Idaho-Maryland mine to be revealed soon

Nevada County artists discuss how COVID-19 shutdown has affected them

‘The arts are essential’: Center for the Arts launches emergency relief fund

Real estate sales strong in Nevada County despite challenges

No slowdown seen in Nevada County construction industry despite COVID-19 lockdown

Nevada County government, home improvement and real estate representatives talk business during COVID-19

‘I’d like to place an order’: In light of COVID-19, the demand for home delivery services in Nevada County is at an all-time high

Grass Valley, Nevada City first to feel COVID-19 economic hit

See you soon? Small business owners struggle, but are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow in Nevada County

Nevada County businesses struggle navigating economic relief

Nevada County health care providers pivot on financial tight rope

‘A sudden and dramatic downturn’: Nevada County economy will be hurt for longtime following coronavirus slowdown, expert says

‘A recession, let alone a depression’: Western Nevada County businesses apply for federal loans, but most have yet to receive money

Nevada County businesses, governments, nonprofits navigate uncertain times, worry what’s ahead

RELATED RESOURCES

http://www.TheUnion.com/coronavirus

http://www.MyNevadaCounty.com/coronavirus

Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses/Employers

Nevada County Relief Fund for Covid-19

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Connect with needs and opportunities from

Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User