Because I figure that one way of knowing this stuff is through the surveys — how many nonprofits have reserves, how many don’t, how many have laid-off staff, how many have reached the end of their lines of credit . . . sometimes it just makes you want to lapse into a coma — sleep it out. Wake up to the world as it has evolved or devolved a year hence.
But, of course, none of us are doing that. Most of us can see the real consequences of inaction and everyone is pulling out all of the stops, investigating every avenue for making the most of this moment in our history.
The stories I have heard from our readers to date are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
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- A health clinic that serves the very poor, but is ineligible as a federally qualified health center because of the community’s high per-capita income, is experiencing an upswing in patient need. The clinic is scrambling to find the doctors, nurses and space to meet their needs, hoping they do not have to shut their doors on the newly unemployed.
- A repertory theater that helps anchor a city’s downtown core struggles with their need to take risks on productions, even when they are on something of a financial precipice. They are fully aware that they may end up looking like heroes or goats as a result of decisive action taken now.
- A community development organization, in a largely rural state, tries to maintain its focus on those most in need, balancing rural and urban housing, when its resource mix is trying to drive them toward serving people less-in-need and primarily working on urban housing instead.
As part of this telling of the story, we are watching the federal picture under the new administration to understand what it will mean for the nonprofit sector. What’s happening with the stimulus package in terms of nonprofits; what’s going on with the Serve Act and the Give Act; and that new Office of Social Innovation? And in the midst of that we are seeing new strengths emerge in our sector that promise a way forward that is more finely and strategically tuned to the times.