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The Community Chest Supports Local Nonprofits During Coronavirus Pandemic in Bergen County

March 28, 2020 , Luhrs & Associates

Area nonprofit reps

Nonprofit leaders attend The Community Chest’s 2019 gala. Photo credit: Chris Marksbury

(Eastern Bergen County, New Jersey; March 27, 2020) — Founded at the height of the Great Depression in 1933 to find solutions to the economic crisis affecting neighbors in the area, The Community Chest is responding now to the coronavirus pandemic and working with area nonprofits to provide them with the tools to carry out their missions.  During this crisis, The Community Chest is providing a platform for nonprofit agency leaders to discuss the problems and identify solutions to help neighbors in eastern Bergen County.

Nonprofits Respond to Demand for Increased Services

Shelly Wimpfheimer

Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director of The Community Chest

Leaders of local nonprofit organizations are confronted with how to meet the increased demand for services with decreased resources resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.  Facing highly stressful conditions, they are trying to find a way to give their agencies’ clients hope and help them weather the storm.  They are grappling with maintaining services in conjunction with an increased demand for them, while confronting lost revenue and other resources.  Shelter in place requirements are causing program cancellations that leave nonprofit leaders struggling to ensure clients are safe and their needs are being met.

“Tough decisions are being made about canceling or postponing critical fundraising events.  These are difficult decisions, because the funds from these events are often needed for day-to-day operations,” explained Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director, The Community Chest.  “With government mandates prohibiting galas and similar fundraisers, crucial funding is being lost or delayed.  Leaders are straining to quickly identify alternate fundraising options to generate much needed revenue.”

The net effect may be devastating to agencies that are such an important resource in areas like food scarcity, family services and mental health care.  Once the pandemic is over, how will agencies regroup and rebuild?  Will donors be in a position to support these rebuilding efforts.

Declining Resources

Funding tops the list, but other resources are also being lost because of the contagious nature of the coronavirus.  Volunteers, especially those who are seniors, are being forced to suspend their involvement with nonprofits.  Without these volunteers, staffing many programs is very limited, making their continuation impossible.

As funds become more limited, the payment of part-time staff becomes equally difficult.  Many nonprofits rely on these part-timers for child-care positions, after school caregivers, caregivers of seniors, supervisors in group homes and a host of other positions.

“The nonprofit leaders feel badly about the staff and the clients they service.  They care about them and are identifying solutions to help the staff and to maintain services during these difficult times,” said Wimpfheimer.

Life must go on in these nonprofits.  Despite these many challenges, nonprofit leaders are expected to inspire their staff by being honest, yet optimistic.  Leading in these circumstances requires strength, selflessness and hope.  Fixating on the negatives is unhelpful.  Leaders must continue to insist the staff supervise their clients closely, attend to their safety and make their participation in programs pleasant.

The Community Chest Responds

Support is needed from our neighbors to help the agencies maintain much needed services.  As during the Great Depression, now is the time for neighbors to help neighbors.  The public is asked to help provide these dedicated agencies’ leaders serving people in need in eastern Bergen County with the funding they need to continue their programs.  Donations of any size are welcome.

Contributions may be made online at www.thecommunitychestebc.org.  Send donations by check, made out to ‘The Community Chest’, to 122 South Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey 07606.  Enter in the memo line, Coronavirus Emergency Fund.

About The Community Chest

Founded in 1933, The Community Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, has supported local not-for-profit agencies for 87 years.  The Chest leads initiatives and supports nonprofits that make our communities stronger and benefit people in need in eastern Bergen County.  Each year, The Chest raises funds and allocates them to agencies demonstrating the capacity to provide services to local citizens.  The organization also provides coordinating and planning services in its communities, serving as a bridge between agencies and organizations and investing in the stability and quality of the service network.

The Community Chest’s Board of Managers is comprised of community leaders dedicated to improving the lives of neighbors in need.  People interested in being considered for board membership may contact executive director Shelly Wimpfheimer at (201) 568-7474.

For further information about The Chest, visit www.thecommunitychestebc.org/ or contact (201) 568-7474.  Stay updated about the organization’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.

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