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How to help struggling nonprofits in central Indiana

Posted at 2:31 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 14:31:12-05

INDIANAPOLIS — After nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indiana, businesses and everyday people are still struggling to make ends meet, and they’re not alone. Nonprofits in central Indiana still need help serving residents daily.

The People

At Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, one of the main impacts of the pandemic is the loss of about 15,000 volunteers planting trees and picking up litter in the city. There are typically days of service through corporations like Eli Lilly and Salesforce, where thousands of employees take the day to help the organization.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is a 40-year-old organization working toward beautifying and cleaning up the city.

“Of course, those have also been ratcheted way back this year,” Keep Indianapolis Beautiful President and CEO Jeremy Kranowitz said. “That’s been a real big constraint on us this year, is on the people side of things.”

The Money

It’s been a tough 2020 financially for the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention, due to a difficulty in fundraising this year.

CHIP’s annual event, a big fundraiser for the organization, had to be canceled due to COVID-19.

There is good news for the organization - a sizable grant will help finish out the year.

CHIP was selected for a Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant of $1.25 million. It was the only Indiana organization to receive such a grant in 2020. The key to the money, CHIP Executive Director Chelsea Haring-Cozzi said, is that it’s unrestricted.

Few grants given to nonprofits like CHIP are unrestricted, meaning the money can be used for whatever the organization sees fit.

“That’s huge,” she said. “To have a grant that is that flexible in nature and really allows communities to address the needs that they have, I can’t tell you how significant that is.”

Haring-Cozzi said CHIP will be regranting out a significant portion of the funding to the community to combat family homelessness.

How to help

About 70% of nonprofits have experienced a loss of revenue in 2020, said Andrew Black, the director of community leadership at the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

In June, Indianapolis announced $2 million in PPE grants for nonprofits across the city. The grant money got many organizations back on their feet, but nonprofits still need help.

The state or federal government could help CHIP and families in the state by reinstituting an eviction moratorium, Haring-Cozzi said. The state’s moratorium expired in September, and the federal one is set to expire on Dec. 31.

“It’s really having some hard policy discussions right now of ‘How do we continue to protect people in housing and reduce barriers to housing?’” she said.

Kranowitz, Haring-Cozzi and Black all said the biggest way for you to help nonprofits is with your dollars.

“I think what [people] could do in a really practical way would be to, instead of providing a material gift, donate to a local nonprofit in honor of the person that you’re buying for,” Black said. “There’s a lot of need out there and nonprofits need our help.”

For more information on how to volunteer with organizations in central Indiana,click here.