COVID-19 Hits LGBTQ Nonprofits Hard; CARES Act Provides Grants, Loans

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
Nonprofits that serve the LGBTQ community are going virtual with their programs, including those to engage people in the 2020 census and the November elections. Photo Credit: MXRuben/Morguefile

LOS ANGELES — The COVID-19 crisis is really hurting nonprofit organizations — in particular those that serve vulnerable populations.

The LGBTQ community, for example, suffers high rates of HIV and cancer, which makes it more susceptible to the virus.

Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, says his group is finding ways to put its programs and services online.

“Not-for-profit organizations exist because in most cases they are providing critical services and resources to marginalized communities,” he points out. “And those services and resources are more important now than ever. ”

Many groups, including Human Rights Campaign and Equality California, have had to postpone fundraisers that make up a big part of their budgets.

So they’re eager to hear more about the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, just passed by Congress. The act provides loans and grants to help keep nonprofit groups afloat.

Many nonprofit groups are sending out pleas for donations on their websites and on social media.

Eddie Martinez. executive director of the Latino Equality Alliance, says he fears that many donors are in wait-and-see mode.

“I don’t think, right now, a lot of people are in a giving mode,” he states. “I think a lot of people are holding onto their resources because they don’t know what to expect.”

Some nonprofit groups are seeing a huge surge in demand — even as they have to change the way they do business to accommodate social distancing — especially groups that provide food, shelter or medical care to low income families.

The CARES Act does include new tax incentives to encourage charitable contributions.