Now is the best time to support nonprofit organizations
As our nation and the world settles more deeply into the COVID-19 epidemic, nonprofit organizations are stepping up and doing even more to continue their crucial work during this time where we are seeing so many basic support structures fail to keep up. We’re spotlighting three organizations (and GB friends!) that are determined to provide assistance and information when our vulnerable populations need it most. These are just a few of many nonprofits that are working in overdrive to provide services despite all of the current roadblocks.
Housing is a basic human right.
With at least 30 million unemployment claims filed in March alone, many individuals who may have been struggling before the pandemic have grown even more vulnerable due to its effects. Communities Resist, a legal services organization defending tenants rights in NYC, fought alongside other grassroots organizations, like Right to Counsel NYC and Housing Justice for All, demanding an eviction moratorium in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Their reasoning was plain and simple: with stay at home orders in effect, nothing is more critical right now than stable housing.
On March 15th, their appeals were rewarded and the Chief Administrative Judge of the state of New York declared and signed into order that “all eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders shall be suspended statewide until further notice.”
New York housing courts re-opened in early June, which garnered protests and calls to keep the housing courts closed. Then, Governor Cuomo extended the blanket eviction moratorium from June 20th until August 20th in order to keep the courts less crowded, and signed the Tenant Safe Harbor Act. Now, Communities Resist is working alongside other tenants’ associations in New York City to pressure the Senate to close housing courts again. It’s physically unsafe to require individuals to go to court now, they say, and evictions will only worsen the public health crisis. Additionally, they argue that the safe harbor act does very little to functionally protect tenants. With no clear end in sight, long-term rent relief and a universal eviction moratorium is necessary prevent financial hardships from worsening, and to ensure that all New Yorkers can be safely housed and socially distanced through this pandemic. You can sign the petition to keep housing court closed, and consider supporting Communities Resist‘s fight for housing justice during this critical time. You can also keep up-to-date with the state of moratorium by following Communities Resist on Twitter.
“This pandemic has revealed to all just how structurally unequal our city and society are. For so many reasons of systemic injustice, it is the most vulnerable communities, our poor and immigrant neighborhoods of color—our clients—who are the most vulnerable right now. We have always fought by their side to combat gentrification and displacement. And we will continue to do so with every resource we can marshal, in any capacity we can assume, to combat the suffering they are experiencing even more so now.”Lina Lee, Executive Director of Communities Resist
Listen to what students have to say.
For the past couple of months, schools and universities have been working to transition all classes online, and teachers and students alike are doing their best, oftentimes struggling, to adjust to this new reality. Our Turn is centering and amplifying student voices and stories from “school-from-home” to shape advocacy efforts in the movement for educational equity. They are conducting a student survey that covers pertinent issues like a widening opportunity gap, financial insecurity and mental health.
We’ll let the students speak for themselves:
“There is no safe place for me to adequately do my coursework to even 50% of the quality that it was because of the lack of resources, heightened responsibility, distractions, and unsafe situations that occur in the household.”
Youth and student advocates are also building a coalition to support each other through leadership development and by creating a meaningful digital graduation ceremony that honors the individuals and families who are missing the in-person celebration.
“The time to re-imagine education through the power of young people is now. We can’t accept a status quo where the pandemic exacerbates racial and economic inequities, and we’re left powerless to shape decisions. Instead, it’s time that we activate young people to co-design a future that ensures every student receives the education and support they deserve.”Mohan Sivaloganathan, CEO of Our Turn
Our most loyal companions.
Our pets must be so perplexed – we’re home all day, going on longer walks, perhaps even visibly in need of extra emotional comfort. For many people who live alone, isolated from friends and family, pets have become even more important members of the household.
The Animal Medical Center, considered an essential business, has stayed open and continues to provide veterinary care throughout the COVID-19 outbreak for the animals who need it, protecting clients and staff with contact-free drop-off and pick-up, complete with a pop-up reception area in the parking lot! AMC is there for everyone – dogs, cats, exotic pets, and humans alike – continuing to provide the highest quality care and releasing resources that ease anxieties surrounding pets and COVID-19.
They built out an extensive resources page on their website, providing factual and evidence-based information about pets and COVID-19. For example, your cat is more likely to get it than your dog, though there’s no evidence that they are a source of infection for humans. Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a staff doctor who specializes in oncology, held a Facebook live event and answered questions on the minds of many pet owners. Citing studies and taking caution to note that while scientists still don’t know much, AMC is rapidly becoming a go-to source for information on this topic.
“Our website has been instrumental in our COVID-19 response, and we’ve been able to provide a necessary resource to our clients and pet owners worldwide with our COVID-19 and Pets webpage. Thanks to Great Believer’s design work and support, the page is user-friendly and incorporates SEO best practices so our information can easily reach those who are looking for it.”Andrew Weatherhead, Director of Digital Marketing at AMC
AMC also knows that we might have a bit more time on our hands, and have hosted Zoom webinars like “Canine Conditioning: Exercises for your dog” and “Home Exercises for Your Cat”, both valuable opportunities to try something new and fun during an inarguably un-fun time.
You can support AMC and their continued efforts during this pandemic by donating to their COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which is helping them to continue providing quality care for our cherished companions.
In a moment of such great need, now is the best time to support the organizations that remain dedicated to supporting their client populations, no matter what challenges are thrown at them. If you are able, please consider donating to one of these fantastic organizations or to a local organization of your choice.