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Nonprofits hope Kentucky Gives Day helps them rebound from pandemic woes

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 19:25:48-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After facing a rough year due to the pandemic, nonprofits across Kentucky hope the ninth annual Kentucky Gives Day helps them recover.

Like many other organizations, The Nest's income shrank as the need for help grew in 2020.

"We had a challenging last year leading up to now, and that affected a lot of our funding, as it did a lot of nonprofits. So having this day that's designated just for giving allows us to have a large platform, not just local, because we can reach out to people in other states, and we can make up for some of that funding hopefully that we lost last year," said Director of Philanthropy JoEllen Wilhoite.

The Nest had to cancel in person events and get creative, but that didn't stop them from helping mothers, their children and abuse survivors.

"We have four free programs here that we have to fund, and it is really important that we not drop the ball on any of those programs because they work in unison together. We have childcare, parenting, family assistance, and intimate partner violence and court advocacy. So, all those programs holistically work together to create better self-sufficiency for the entire family," said Wilhoite.

The Kentucky Nonprofit Network surveyed nearly 300 nonprofits across Kentucky. What they found was a reported $201 million in lost revenue due to the pandemic, and that's only counting for 1% of Kentucky's more than 20,000 nonprofits.

Their year-end nonprofit report for 2020 revealed 37% of those surveyed saw a decrease in annual revenue. Thirty one percent of those surveyed laid off, furloughed staff, or planned to. Seven percent shut down and nine percent expected to shut down in the future.

"To see that level of lost revenue, and that percentage of folks who had been laid off for just a small sample was really concerning because we know it's significantly more than that," said CEO Danielle Clore.

While some nonprofits received federal aid, not all of them did.

"Those who were able to secure that relief, those funds are typically gone. The second round of PPP relief was a little more difficult to get, and so many organizations were not able to take advantage, and then there were some organizations who were shut out completely," said Clore.

She says those numbers and that impact gives Kentucky Gives Day a whole new meaning this year. It's a chance to make up for what was lost.

For The Nest, their goal is $15,000.

"It would really help. We're trying to get even. So that amount of money would really contribute to a lot of the Family Assistance items that we're always in need of," said Wilhoite.

The Lexington Children's Theatre is hoping to do the same. They had to cut their professional internship program last summer.

"How much would I estimate that we lost? Probably close to 70% of our budget, and we are a $1.3 million company," said Director of Marketing and Advancement Tiffany Dupont Novak.

They want to be able to provide adequate equity and access to the arts and theatre.

"We're really focusing on access to our theater school programming for young people, so we've had to kind of scale back obviously due to the pandemic because we want everything to be safe, but we're really looking at the community to kind of support those opportunities that we weren't able to have because of the pandemic," said Dupont Novak.

Kentucky nonprofits have a big impact on local and state tax revue. They're the 4th largest private sector employer in the commonwealth. One in ten Kentuckians have worked for a nonprofit. That amounts to more than 150,000 jobs and $7.5 billion in wages.

To give: KY Gives Day