NAVIGATING AS A NONPROFIT DURING THE TIME OF COVID
By Kistie Singh, Executive Director
As a small nonprofit in Surrey, we know many other nonprofits have been experiencing similar challenges during this time. We have seen federal and provincial funding to support businesses and ways in which we can access this support. The decisions we’ve made and will make are crucial. I share this demanding experience with SOS Children’s Village BC’s leadership team, and with other nonprofit representatives in the community.
It’s a challenging time indeed, when a major priority of nonprofits is to fill the gaps and meet the needs of individuals who can’t always access government support or who need some extra help.
We take pride and feel rewarded in our mission and purpose, and we are very pleased to be able to say we’ve kept our children, families, and youth safe, and our team together and supported – ensuring we do not let anyone slip through the cracks. It’s solidarity that has brought us together, knowing we need to sometimes sacrifice and put ourselves on the line so that others in our community don’t have to worry about their next meal.
It’s been challenging to advocate for small nonprofits to be included in government funding that provides extra pay for essential workers. How we define an essential worker takes on a different perspective in nonprofits, in a light that forces us to think outside of the medical realm.
SOS BC’s staff are essential as they work on the front line. Almost overnight, our staff innovatively educated, trained, and oriented themselves in order to respond to our children and youth. It was inconceivable for our team to not respond when the pandemic hit. We had to be creative and think of ways to keep our team safe, consider safe environments outside where we could meet our youth in the community, and scramble to get the right PPE. But I’m proud to say that we did it, and we continue to meet the unique needs of the communities we serve.
Our advocacy for the support we need continues: to say that we too are essential workers on the line making sure our vulnerable youth and families have their needs met, have food, are getting to appointments, and are getting outside and away from their necessarily isolated lives.
BC government ministries have opened a line for social services like our nonprofit to reflect and discuss how we can make this situation better. This makes us hopeful. Visiting with our MLA Jinny Sims drew some attention to how nonprofits are taking on these challenges and she took our experience to the legislature with a speech last month. We would like to thank Jinny for her support, and of course all of our donors who have been there for us through our emergency Leave the Light On appeal.
Together we will keep SOS BC, and the kids we support, strong.
Edited by William Brennan