As lawmakers and staff are negotiating the details for the next COVID-19 relief package, Goodwill® and other nonprofits are teaming up for a #Relief4Charities Week of Action during the week of July 13.
Though it is frequently cited as a top priority for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, actually enacting a comprehensive plan to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure can sometimes seem like the elusive hope of an “infrastructure week” that has come and gone.
The pandemic and the economic downturn have severely damaged charitable giving in America. Despite a few bright spots and big headlines, the latest data shows a troubling decline in donations this year, with an 11 percent drop in March alone — a trend that would lead to $25 billion in lost revenue for nonprofits like Goodwill®.
Office closures and social distancing has not stopped Congress from their ability to conduct their business, and it should not prevent advocates from engaging with lawmakers and staff. In fact, it’s more important now that constituents be able to contact elected officials and share the impact that the pandemic is having on individuals, families, communities and employers.
Since shortly after the pandemic began, a group of charitable nonprofits (including Goodwill®), recognized that many organizations will be in need of various forms of federal relief as they continue to provide critical services at a time when they had to cancel fundraisers, close businesses that provide mission revenue, and face delays in contract payments among other struggles. Hundreds of organizations have since joined the effort seeking #Relief4Charities.
For more than a century, we at Goodwill® have prided ourselves in our work and our mission to help people with perceived barriers to employment overcome their challenges and gain employment. We now need to challenge ourselves as a human service provider to not only help people who have struggled to find employment, but to actively work to remove systemic and institutional racism and other barriers that prevent people from having equal opportunities in the first place.
This week began with many observing service members on Memorial Day who gave the ultimate sacrifice while defending our country. A few days later, we mourned the passing of more than 100,000 lives lost in America’s battle against COVID-19. These were disproportionately people of color, older Americans and people with pre-existing medical conditions — and they were so much more than a statistic.
On Tuesday, May 19, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board held a virtual meeting to discuss strategies for supporting workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Comprised of leaders from industry, higher education, government and nonprofit organizations, the board advises the Administration on workforce development policy and work to promote career education and job training opportunities.
Another week has gone by and another 3 million individuals have filed for unemployment, bringing the total number of unemployed to more than 36 million over the last two months. What started as a public health crisis became an economic crisis and morphed into an employment crisis. Lawmakers play a significant role as well, which is why Goodwill Industries International continues to join 450 other charitable nonprofits in asking Congress to provide #Relief4Charities.
As part of Goodwill® Week, both Goodwill Industries International and local Goodwill organizations around the country have encouraged people to “Find Good Everywhere.” Amidst partisan bickering, it’s not always easy to find good on Capitol Hill, but there were a few highlights to acknowledge, which have been beyond good for our advocacy efforts seeking #Relief4Charities in the next congressional package.
Goodwill® Week has taken place the first full week of May since 1951. In years past, local Goodwill organizations around the United States and Canada would host career fairs, donation drives, tours of their facilities and services, and other community-wide events to commemorate the week. While it is understandably difficult to celebrate during this time of crisis, it’s important to highlight the contributions that Goodwill and other charitable nonprofits continue to make in their communities.
A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress to seek relief for charitable nonprofits. Please take a moment to take action and contact Congress and ask that they support nonprofits during their time of need. We currently have two pre-written letters that you can send your local law-makers.