Volunteers supporting the New Hampshire Food Bank through a food drive. (Courtesy photo.)

Volunteers supporting the New Hampshire Food Bank through a food drive. (Courtesy photo.)

Giving strategies to help NH through the current crisis

Foundation director of philanthropy and donor services Laura Rauscher details some ways to give to help our communities during this challenging time — and as we rebuild.

The global COVID-19 pandemic is testing our communities in ways that are drawing apt comparisons to World War II. New Hampshire, which relies heavily on the nonprofit sector for array of critical services, is going to need as many people as are able to rally around those organizations — as they distribute food, care for elders, shelter victims of violence, provide child care for emergency workers, report on critical public-health information. And as they enhance the quality of life for everyone in New Hampshire — conserving open space, connecting us with the arts and humanities, securing our access to local food and so much more.

At the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, we know that our state is full of generous people and businesses. And we know that many of you are already stepping up, setting poignant and powerful examples of generosity and community-mindedness during this extremely challenging time. We applaud you.

We are often asked about how and where to give during this time of urgent need and uncertainty. Here are some ways you can rally to help our communities through this crisis:

Give directly to New Hampshire’s nonprofit organizations.

New Hampshire’s nonprofits that provide services to our most vulnerable neighbors are seeing a huge increase in demand — while most are also seeing decreases in revenue. The New Hampshire Food Bank and food pantries all across the state are facing a surge in need as people have lost employment during this crisis. More people are requesting Meals on Wheels. And, in the midst of a pandemic and a stay-at-home order, they are having to adapt and innovate to continue to safely feed people, for instance, with boxes packed that will feed a family for a week, delivered to the trunk of a car.

Organizations that provide shelter for families and individuals who are homeless are working hard to safely continue to provide those services. Many nonprofit child-care centers have closed, others are staying open to provide care for the children of essential workers. Nonprofits have had to cancel spring fund-raising events — on which they rely for significant revenue — and many are laying off staff. Arts organizations that depend on ticket sales are hurting.

Nonprofits need support immediately, and will continue to need support in the months and years to come. Giving directly to nonprofits you know is a great way to give right now. Most organizations have the option to donate online. Under the newly passed CARES Act, all taxpayers can now deduct up to $300 in cash contributions to nonprofits in 2020, regardless of whether they itemize deductions or take the standard deduction.

Give to a United Way fund or other COVID-19 response fund.

Granite United Way, United Way of Greater Nashua, United Way of the Greater Seacoast and Monadnock United Way have all established relief funds specific to this crisis. These funds are directing resources to community nonprofits that are providing critical services, meeting basic needs of people in our communities and supplying emergency financial relief to families. One hundred percent of donations to these funds go directly to help those in need.

The  Charitable Foundation has established the Community Crisis Action Fund to support New Hampshire communities now — and as we rebuild from the immediate effects of this crisis. The Foundation is making immediate unrestricted grants to reduce pain and hardship for our most vulnerable neighbors and to reduce the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on critical systems such as health care, emergency response, child care and food security. The Foundation is also supporting local emergency funds established by United Ways and others. Every penny donated into this fund will go to community nonprofits.

Laura Rauscher, director of development and philanthropy services at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, can be reached at 1-800-464-6641 ext. 274 or Laura.Rauscher@nhcf.org.