Coalition unites to help nonprofit, voluntary, and not for profit social enterprise organizations as they work to meet the needs of Nova Scotians impacted by COVID-19
HALIFAX, N.S. – A new Coalition is attracting nonprofit, not for profit social enterprise and voluntary organization leaders and government officials across Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Nonprofit COVID-19 Coalition was founded in March to address a common goal – to recognize and support a sector that is desperately needed as COVID-19 causes unparalleled job loss and uncertainty, illness and profound loss in our communities.
Convened by the Acting CEO of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia (CFNS,) Stephanie Clark, and the Chair of the Board of the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia (CSCNS,) Patricia Bradshaw, the Coalition is made up of a group of 10 organizations that represent a wide array of needs across the province.
The Coalition has also launched a website for the sector which has been designed to be a one-stop-shop for COVID-19 related funding, education, and opportunities to find answers to real-time barriers and challenges faced by the organizations. In addition, they are also connecting with the private sector and all levels of government to foster innovation and bold ideas to raise awareness and recognition for a sector that contributes one billion dollars to the province’s GDP according to a recent economic impact study by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC.)
“The more than 20,000 employees working in 6,000 organizations are in critical condition,” said Bradshaw. A survey of the nonprofit sector conducted in late April resulted in information that she found troubling. “These organizations are struggling to meet the increased service demands the pandemic has placed on the physical, mental, economic, social, recreational and cultural health of hundreds of rural and urban communities where more than one million Nova Scotians call HOME. They are providing nursing care, meals, new immigrant settlement services, shelter, transportation and support to the disabled, unemployed, homeless, abused, disenfranchised, elderly, at risk, sick and hungry. Staff are exhausted and facing compassion fatigue. They are seeing first-hand the systemic inequalities of marginalized communities manifested in ways that cannot be ignored.”
“We know many organizations are not only experiencing the effects of COVID-19, they’re also grieving and helping in the aftermath of the mass shooting in northern Nova Scotia,” added Clark. “Federal and provincial government relief programs for the sector are helping, but it’s more than that. Many of them don’t have the capacity to seek out and apply for these funds. They’re overwhelmed with information and the lack of information. We are responding to that with the website and by using our collective power and relationships to connect the with the expertise and resources they need.”
Nova Scotia Nonprofit Organization Quotes
“There are some supports in the short term during the state of emergency. But this is just the calm before the storm for us. We expect an increase as COVID-19 continues and we anticipate a second wave. We’re going to need more staff and more support; and we may or may not have enough extra funds to sustain the new demand. We are already turning women away.”
“I haven’t had Internet at home for three days, so I only have access to email when I drive to the parking lot of the library and am sending or downloading the emails for the day. I’ve been doing Zoom calls but can only handle sitting in my vehicle for a few hours at a time.”
Arts Program for
Youth at Risk
“For more than 10 years our program has helped troubled youth better their lives through discipline and self-confidence. We operate in a safe and supportive environment, four times a week in three different locations so at-risk youth can easily access the programs. The closure of our program due to COVID-19 leaves holes in the programming of at least three other non-profits serving youth at risk and their families and impacts the health of their clients.”