By LOIS KINDLE
Last year, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay introduced a COVID-19-related Nonprofit Needs List, whereby donors could identify charities needing help. Due to the pandemic, these organizations were stretched to the max at a time when demand for their services had grown exponentially, donations and/or other forms of funding were severely down and operational expenses were difficult, if not impossible, to cover.
Recently, the foundation introduced this new Critical Needs List, connecting donors to local nonprofits with urgent and/or unexpected needs.
“It’s a tool for quickly mobilizing funding sources for groups facing imminent threats to their ability to serve their communities,” said Wilma Norton, vice president, community connections. “We don’t expect this new list to be as expansive as the COVID-19-related Nonprofit Needs List.
“Our hope is that we can draw attention to these urgent needs so that people will step up immediately.”
The way the Critical Needs List works is this: Nonprofit organizations share any unbudgeted, unforeseen and time-sensitive needs that would significantly interfere with their ability to provide critical services or imminently threaten their continued operations.
For example, if a small food bank’s freezer went out and it had no money to replace it or if a storm blew the roof off a shelter for battered women, either would qualify as an unexpected and essential need.
The Community Foundation will post each nonprofit’s request for urgent support on the Critical Needs List at www.cftampabay.org/criticalneedslist/, and donors can get specific information on that need.
The foundation also works to match its philanthropists with some of the funding requests and offers matching incentives when its fundholders contribute to a need on the list.
“We provided more than $30 million in all grants to nonprofits last year, including some from a competitive grants cycle last fall. But some requests can’t wait for a funding cycle,” said Marlene Spalten, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay in a recent press release. “We saw how the COVID-19 pandemic affected many local nonprofits, and it sparked the idea to create an avenue for nonprofits to receive a more urgent form of support.”
Through the COVID-19 Nonprofit Needs List, the Community Foundation provided $4.5 million in philanthropic support to 207 nonprofit groups through its own funding resources and the generosity of local donors, corporations and foundations from March 2020 to April 2021, Norton said. This funding supported services to 765,000 in the Tampa Bay area.
Nonprofit organizations are also encouraged to submit applications for the Community Foundation’s competitive grants cycle when it opens Oct. 13. It expects to award approximately $1 million in competitive grants to local nonprofits this year.
For more information on the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, visit www.cftampbay.org/.