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Non-profits see a decline in giving amid COVID-19 pandemic

Charities have experienced a decline in giving due to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the economy.

Local organizations such as United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County has seen the impact of COVID-19 has had on the economy and on charitable giving.

“Our local United Way has experienced a decline in charitable giving and many of our program partners have reported similar declines, which is understandable given the substantial economic impact COVID-19 has had on individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout the Lafayette-Oxford-University (LOU) community,” said Kurt Brummett, the executive director of United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County. “That is not to say I have not been blessed to witness the giving nature of many throughout our community as several have given significant supplemental as well as new contributions to help address our growing needs. I cannot thank all of the people, businesses, organizations and public entities that support our local United Way enough as we are proud to provide the means to support 20 programs as well as thousands of local residents through a single contribution.”

Doors of Hope Transition Ministries actually saw an increase in phone calls at the start of the COVID pandemic. They even started a COVID-19 assistance program.

“We started a COVID-19 assistance program and to date we have helped over 75 families with rent and/or utilities,” said Mary Margaret Andrews, the executive director of Doors of Hope Transition Ministeries. “We were able to do this because people donated and wanted to help and we received a matching grant from United Way. We are a small agency and we don’t use many volunteers because of the nature of what we do and how we help families.”

However, according to Brummett, there have also been cases of charities seeing an increase in charitable giving.

“While many charities have experience declines in giving, I have also heard of increases for other organizations,” Brummett said. “Multiple partners have expressed item donations have increased and some have mentioned increased giving as well. So, while certain giving trends are down in comparison to previous years, others are trending upward as people want to help when they know of needs that exist.”

Andrews agrees with this statement.

“We find that people in Oxford are very generous and when asked to help, they do,” she said.

The reason behind the decline in charitable giving is a result of economic uncertainty.

“As is true whenever a need arises, our community is extremely giving and I think its philanthropic nature is on display at all times through the many people who choose to invest in our community. whether that entails donating, volunteering, and/or advocating to support local initiatives and organizations,” Brummett said. “ As needs continue to rise at an alarming rate, I encourage people throughout Oxford and Lafayette County to please consider giving what they can however they can as every contribution makes a significant impact, even if it simply entails loose change in a donation canister, an hour volunteered, or a social media post shared. Investing in the LOU community is one investment that always yields incredible returns and you get to see the tremendous impact firsthand in the positive outcomes that occur.”