Literacy Network Pivots, Relys on ‘Loyal’ Donors as Pandemic Challenges Nonprofits | Economic news



Throughout the pandemic, Cranley said the United Way has asked its partner agencies the same question: What keeps them from sleeping at night?

“The answer has always been families,” she said. “Families in the community that they serve or that they do not have the capacity to serve. This community is generous, but we still have a lot of needs here.

About 55% of the Literacy Network’s $ 1.3 million annual budget is funded by grants, Burkhart said.

Madison-area nonprofits have faced similar challenges since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as figuring out how to deliver services safely while staying on budget.


In the first week of March 2020 – just before the reality of the public health crisis became clear – the organization was asked for a large grant, he said. But the word about his status has remained silent for months. The organization later found out that the money had gone to emergency COVID-19 efforts.

“My stomach, it had really just sank,” Burkhart said. “I was very worried about what was going to happen because we didn’t know anything about the financial aid.

The Literacy Network turned to its “very loyal base of donors,” who provide about a quarter of its budget, last summer with an emergency request for $ 144,000, he said.

“We were able to more than collect this amount of money,” Burkhart said.

The emergency campaign supported the Literacy Network throughout the summer, and additional year-end fundraisers and other upcoming grants have put the organization in a better position for the to come up. Burkhart said none of the 35 full-time and part-time staff were made redundant.


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