SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: A double whammy for non-profits

Maureen Wendt

'Tis the season of appreciation and gratitude. If you are like me, you can hardly believe that the end of the year is almost here. As the year ends and we celebrate the holidays, I wish each of you a joyous and healthy holiday, a happy new year, and safety in all you do.

(And, I wish that 2021 will be a year that eradicates COVID-19. Fingers crossed, because it is still a bit in the future.)

The end of the year is a time when family and friends come together and spirits are typically high. It is also a critical time of the year for charities. As the year nears its end and you reflect on the traditions that lift your spirits, please think too about contributing to the spirit of a charity, during a time when it is needed more than ever.

We all know what effects the Covid pandemic is having on the families affected, businesses, and healthcare. Have you thought about how the ripple effect makes its way to the local community and in particular the non-profit sector? No one can forecast all of the consequences from this; the economy is being damaged, the stock market is volatile, and an end date is unknown. This all adds up to a challenge for the non-profit sector that is almost unfathomable. This year has been a year like no other in my lifetime.

Simply put, it is common sense and history shows us that a strong economy is good for charities and a weak economy has a negative effect on charitable giving. Further, national and state funding has been significantly reduced, resulting in funding for social needs being cut. Giving by foundations and corporations is just as vulnerable; businesses cut expenses, which includes charitable giving. Charitable organizations have been handed a double whammy.

During a time when the demand for services is increasing, the generosity of Americans has been declining. Cutbacks in charitable giving do not affect all groups equally during this period of pandemic. Some non-profits are struggling to survive as individual donors, corporations and foundations shift their funds to Covid disaster relief. This has really forced agencies that are not specifically linked to Covid relief to evaluate how to absorb the financial blow.

Charitable giving does not keep up with demand for services during economic hard times; the demand for human services is up. Agencies are forced to deliver more services with a smaller slice of the pie. The Dale Association is no exception.

Our mission is to provide services that will enhance the health and wellness of individuals and help them build supports to stay safely in the community. Numerous families have turned to us as their loved one's daily living skills deteriorated; some are using our supportive services for a memory, hearing or vision impairment. Caregivers have peace of mind and tools to assist them with caring for their loved one and themselves. Adults in need of mental health counseling find therapy and support. Still more are satisfying the need for self-enrichment and growth through our Senior Centre and so much more. We realize that every person coming through our doors is at a different point in their lives, and our Senior Centre has been in the middle of responding in a nurturing and positive way.

Across the nation and locally, people are being asked to shop and support the economy. For the causes that you believe in, keeping up support of charitable organizations for this community's sake would further reinforce that the spirit of giving is alive and well. The Dale Association is a non-profit organization and gratefully accepts charitable donations of any size.

To those who have supported The Dale Association this year: Thank you! We are grateful for you and your kindness and generosity.

I'm sure that I speak for other non-profit organizations that would be grateful for year-end support during this difficult year as well.

Maureen A. Wendt is president and CEO of The Dale Association, a non-profit organization that provides senior, mental health, in-home care, caregiver support services and enrichment activities for adults.

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