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Foundation, CDFA, Center for Nonprofits advocate for nonprofit relief fund

Following invitations to testify to the committees advising the Governor's Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery, the Foundation, in partnership with the Community Development Finance Authority and the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, has proposed that the state establish a Nonprofit Relief and Recovery Fund.

New Hampshire’s nonprofits are instrumental in the healthy functioning of our communities and our economy. They serve people in every city and town in New Hampshire — and are critical in the state’s relief and recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the current crisis has dealt nonprofits a serious blow: According to a recent New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits’ survey almost half have already instituted layoffs and more than 90 percent have seen lost revenue — while many have seen a sharp increase in demand for services.

The Charitable Foundation was invited to provide testimony to two committees advising the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) on the nonprofit sector and how federal funds from the CARES Act could help alleviate the impact that the pandemic has had on New Hampshire nonprofits. At least a half-dozen nonprofit leaders were also invited to testify, including Maureen Beauregard, president and CEO of Easter Seals New Hampshire and a member of the Charitable Foundation’s board of directors. The office is considering how to allocate $1.25 billion from the New Hampshire Coronavirus Relief Fund established through the CARES Act.

“In this crisis, it is imperative that a significant portion of funding go to nonprofits doing critical work in communities across New Hampshire,” said Richard Ober, president and CEO of the Charitable Foundation.

Encouraged by state officials and members of two committees advising the GOFERR, the Foundation, in partnership with the Community Development Finance Authority and the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, has proposed that the state establish a Nonprofit Relief and Recovery Fund with a minimum of $125 million. The fund would be administered by a partnership of the three organizations and address both costs and losses incurred by nonprofits as a direct result of COVID-19, and provide resources to help nonprofits meet important health, economic, and social needs and expenditures that directly result from COVID-19.

“The state cannot pull through this crisis without the nonprofit sector, and the nonprofit sector — including those organizations on the front lines and caring for the most vulnerable — has taken a huge hit,” Ober said.

Since the COVID crisis began to unfold in mid-March, the Charitable Foundation has been in constant touch with nonprofits to asses community need, made $6.2 million in grants to support New Hampshire nonprofits, and created a Community Crisis Action Fund to raise funds to help New Hampshire weather this crisis. More than $3.5 million has been raised to date.

The three organizations made clear in the proposal to the state that the Nonprofit Relief and Recovery Fund should be considered in addition and complementary to direct investments that the GOFERR is being encouraged to make in significant areas of public need such as housing, public health, and education.

For more information, visit: https://www.goferr.nh.gov/

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