Study shows area nonprofits struggling during pandemic

Salvation Army Thrift Store in Green Bay (WBAY file photo)
Salvation Army Thrift Store in Green Bay (WBAY file photo)(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 3:12 PM CDT
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A study released Thursday shows just how much the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Northeast Wisconsin's nonprofit organizations.

Despite the Salvation Army's Thrift Store in Green Bay now open on a limited basis, and generating at least some revenue, normal operations for the nonprofit seem like a distant memory.

"Everything really has impacted the services that we provide, and in some cases we had to discontinue services. We do showers, we do a cooling center during the summertime, we can't do that because we can't allow people in the building; and then our food pantry and our daily lunch program is now served curbside versus allowing people to come in, so it has had a huge impact on us," says Jeanne Stangel, Director of Business Development for the Green Bay Salvation Army.

According to a study conducted in late April by University of Wisconsin-Green Bay's Center for Public Affairs, only 10 percent of nonprofits in Northeast Wisconsin report business as usual.

For the rest, times are tough.

The study found more than 50 percent of nonprofits had to reduce staff, and 80 percent have fewer volunteers helping out.

Additionally, 3 out of every 4 are concerned about being able to support their clients.

"Many of the nonprofits are serving some of the most vulnerable children, children with disabilities, adults, foster youth, older adults who are home alone," says Professor Lora Warner, Director of UW-Green Bay's Center for Public Affairs.

Warner says the goal of the report is to share the information with government and corporate leaders, as well as donors.

"More than half of the nonprofits have had to cancel or change a major fundraising events, and so it makes it really tough on them. Many of them are generating the money they need for the entire year," says Warner.

The study also found that nearly half of the area's nonprofits did not receive any emergency funding.

For organizations like the Salvation Army, the community's support has never been more vital.

"We had so many people stepping up with monetary donations, and donating in-kind things and offering gift cards and that has helped so much to help the increase in demand of people that are just going through some hardships right now," says Stangel.

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