Non-profits continue to adjust during pandemic

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, non-profit organizations across the state of Alabama have made adjustments just to survive.

Many depend on donations and fund-raising events to meet the financial demand. Events at the beginning of the pandemic were postponed or canceled; however, some non-profits in the Birmingham area held virtual fundraisers which helped them survive.

STAIR of Birmingham CEO Karen Griner says they held a virtual event last summer called ‘Bedtime stories for a better Birmingham.’; they were able to raise thousands of dollars and met their goal.

“We just had some local celebrities from the community to read bedtime stories while we asked our viewers to chip while listening to some stories to send in some money,” Griner said. “The community really came forward for us.”

Griner says they have also been able to keep staff because of donations from the public.

Other organizations also saw an increase in donations. Lodriguez Murray is the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the United Negro College Fund. He says another contributing factor to their rise in donations was the social justice movement surrounding the death of George Floyd.

“People began to give to us. It really changed our year,” Murray said. “We went from expecting a worse year to having one of our best years ever on record.”

Justinn Overton with Coosa River Keeper says a lot of Alabamians were outside because of the pandemic, which meant more people were reading their data on water quality. She says any small donation made to non-profits like theirs goes a long way.

“And that has been a huge way to float…pun intended..to float our organization through these difficult times,” Overton said.

Griner says the pandemic has shown non-profits have the ability to adapt to anything thrown their way.

“We know how to do it. If we aren’t able to fully go back in person, we can always do a hybrid model,” Griner said.

All three organizations will plan to continue virtual events until they believe it’s safe to do so.


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