How our programs and operations have been affected by the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is certainly something none of us expected. As the crisis has affected so many things about our day to day lives, it has also affected our work at Amirah. In an effort to be as transparent as possible, we want to give you an update on how things have changed for us financially and with our programs.
The chart above shows giving by month for 2018, 2019, and 2020. As is shown in the chart, we have seen a dip in donations since social distancing was established mid-March. As we are 100% funded by donors and receive no government funding, this can affect how we operate. In March we decided to postpone our biggest annual fundraiser, Voices of Hope, to October in order to avoid a large gathering of people. This event provides about $80,000 in donations, which powers our programs for more than two months.
Apart from Voices of Hope, we have seen a parallel decline in individual giving compared to 2019 and 2018. The majority of philanthropic dollars are being directed to frontline efforts, defined as services for those directly impacted by the pandemic (hospitals, clinics, food pantries, homeless shelters, etc. – data can be found here). This definition of “frontline” bars us from eligibility for many grants being generated to address COVID-19. Reported philanthropy among non-frontline nonprofits has dropped nationally, with some nonprofits already closing their doors permanently due to lack of financial resources. We are doing our due diligence to apply for every grants we qualify for, as well as the Paycheck Protection Program through the SBA.
In our North Shore safe home, we have had to completely change our approach to services for the survivors who are in our care. All appointments for sobriety meetings, psychological services, doctors’ appointments, and therapeutic services have had to move to online resources. External community resources, which include NA and AA groups, GED classes, job preparation courses, financial education, college preparatory classes, and day therapeutic programs have now been cancelled due to the pandemic, requiring our staff to find replacement resources online quickly for as many of these needed supports as possible. For supports that do not have an equivalent online replacement, our staff are creating replacement programming for each woman in our safe home.
As you can imagine, this shift has been difficult for everyone in society, but for those who have PTSD and mental health disorders related to trauma, this shift has been taxing and triggering. Our staff are working harder than ever to provide support to each survivor who is in our care, helping them to maintain their sobriety and feel like they are working towards something rather than being put in a stand-still.
As we do not have access to the correctional facilities where we were operating Outreach Groups due to social distancing, our Outreach Survivor Leader is creating an online support group for any survivor who wants to participate and needs some extra support during these times.
Essentially, there is no aspect of Amirah that has gone untouched by this pandemic, but we are as committed as ever to the women we serve. We hope we can count on your support to make sure these women can continue their recovery journeys and find lasting hope at Amirah.