Community Foundations Help Workers Displaced by Federal Shutdown

Community foundations are supporting efforts to help workers and communities impacted by the federal shutdown. Flickr Creative Commons photo by  AFGE .

Community foundations are supporting efforts to help workers and communities impacted by the federal shutdown. Flickr Creative Commons photo by AFGE.

As the partial shutdown of the federal government enters its second month, a growing number of U.S. community foundations are stepping up to provide funding and other support to impacted workers and nonprofits.

In Washington, D.C., the shutdown is affecting an estimated 285,000 federal government and contract workers. In turn, it is wreaking havoc on the region’s economy and putting a huge strain on nonprofits that provide help with food and shelter, utilities, and social services.

As the need has grown, the Greater Washington Community Foundation has started setting aside and raising money to help nonprofits address the most critical needs.

Earlier this month, the foundation announced that it will use $50,000 from its Resilience Fund to provide grants to nonprofits who are assisting displaced workers. The foundation has also launched an emergency fundraising campaign in support of the fund. To date, donors have contributed more than $40,000 to augment the initial $50,000 provided through the fund.

But while Washington is considered ground zero for the shutdown, its impact reaches far and wide — affecting communities in every state.

And as that impact grows, community foundations are doing what they can to help bridge the gap.

In Florida, for example, the Pinellas Community Foundation is providing emergency food relief in the form of three grants of $10,000 each to support the nonprofit groups Feeding America Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg Free Clinic, and RCS Pinellas — and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County is using its Season of Sharing Fund to direct support to those who are impacted in its community.

Several other community foundations — including the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Community Foundation of New Jersey, and the Denver Foundation — are providing information to fundholders about how to best support nonprofits that are offering relief and services to furloughed federal workers.

And in Ohio, the Columbus Foundation this week announced that it is helping displaced workers in its community through its Gifts of Kindness Fund. The foundation plans to make an additional donation every day to the fund until the shutdown ends.

The grants help with costs that are unpredictable or that occur due to unexpected situations, such as transportation and basic household necessities.

CF in ActionPeter Panepento