Thank you to all who responded to our recent survey on the effects of the federal government shutdown. We heard from nonprofit organizations of varying types, budget sizes and locations throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Here’s what we learned

~ Although just a little over 50% of survey respondents receive federal funding, the shutdown had an impact across the board.

~ It was encouraging to see almost 90% of respondents had operating funds in reserve, although only 40% of those had three months or more.

~ 50% of all respondents saw an increase in service needs during the shutdown, but only 30% had program supplies in reserve. Of those, 60% had to tap into their reserves.

~ Even more significant than the quantifiable stats was the immeasurable impact on nonprofits, families and the community.

“It is clear that a strong nonprofit sector is critical when our residents and communities are in crisis,” observes Glen O’Gilvie, CEO, Center for Nonprofit Advancement. “We are proud of the support our network provided and encourage a replenishment of reserves and greater coordination in preparation for any future challenges.”

Some of the impact stories shared:

“We provided a 5-day supply of groceries to over 400 furloughed government workers and contractors.”

“We saw a 10% increase in call volume to our 24/7 hotline; an increase in anxiety and stress for clients across all of our programs and services, especially those seeking federal assistance for basic needs like food and shelter.”

“Donors became clients. Donors terminated recurring monthly donations.”

“We have been providing additional food support for guests, including bags of full and frozen meals. And with the cold weather and ‘life threatening wind-chills,’ guests are requesting gloves, hand warmers and other essentials. The government shutdown is a reminder that many members of our community could be just a few paychecks from experiencing homelessness.”

“As an environmental organization headquartered in the DC region, we provide a lot of programming and stewardship of public lands. During the shutdown, we were unable to access Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where we keep freshwater mussels for an education program. We have also responded to calls about trash and illegal dumping at federally-managed sites and worked with the city to remove more than 400 tires that were illegally dumped during the shutdown on National Park Service land.”

“… a sense of demoralization. Our constituency assumed/believed that the government was solid, an institution that could be trusted, relied on. There has been a definite sense of loss, hope and trust.”

These narratives deliver a clear reminder of the valuable and vital support nonprofits provide our communities.

Resources to share with your clients and those in need:

•  Metropolitan Washington Council of Government 
•  United Way National Capital Area
•  Helpline 2-1-1: This free and confidential helpline provides information about social, health and government resources, and connects callers to community resources in their local community. 2-1-1 is available in multiple languages 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available to callers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

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