Year in Review: How nonprofits adapted to serve and fund-raise in a changing world

“We’re seeing a world that’s changing because of COVID, but the people that are in need are still in need and now we have even more of them.”
Published: Dec. 25, 2020 at 4:56 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - “This is nothing like we’ve seen before,” said Tiffany Parker, then-executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Brazos Valley in April.

In 2020, a Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service study found that nearly half of Brazos Valley nonprofits were operating at a severely reduced capacity—or not at all—because of the pandemic. (link to andy story)

The year changed everything for local nonprofits. For one, donors who used to give of their resources, now needed help themselves.

“Our mission is a hunger-free Brazos Valley, and right now I cannot say that’s the case,” said Theresa Mangapora, executive director of the Brazos Valley Food Bank.

Yet those nonprofits largely persevered, finding a way to still serve their communities and clients.

“The kids are still coming through our door,” said Cary Baker, executive director of Scotty’s House. “They need to be served.”

With masks, social distancing, and virtual services, most nonprofits found a way to provide services in the midst of the pandemic.

However, with large gatherings mostly prohibited and considered unsafe, the usual fundraising opportunities were off the table. Luncheons and banquets were canceled all throughout the year.

Some went virtual, like the Salvation Army’s Doing the Most Good Luncheon, Junction 505′s Harvest Moon dinner, and the Junior League of Bryan-College Station’s Night of Giving event.

Furthermore, large-scale fundraisers were organized. First, the United Way of the Brazos Valley and the Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley teamed up to create the Brazos Valley COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, which funneled donated dollars to both nonprofits and businesses that were struggling.

That money then helped nonprofits adjust.

“The COVID-19 Relief Fund allowed us to engage our staff, activate our staff, and adapt to a new reality and move all of our services online,” said Alina Fifer, CEO of the Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center.

Another huge event was the Brazos Valley Gives Day of Giving. In one day, the organization raised more than $800,000 for local nonprofits.

“Our community has provided some funds that are going to sustain them for the next couple of months,” said Molly Watson with BV Gives.

KBTX hosted a day-long telethon fundraiser for the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund and the Brazos Valley Food Bank, both during a Food for Families Fund Drive and the annual KBTX Food for Families Food Drive.

“We’re seeing a world that’s changing because of COVID, but the people that are in need are still in need and now we have even more of them,” said one Food for Families volunteer. “We have to take this responsibility. Us that can, need to help those that can’t.”

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