The Ally: April 2020

Note from the Executive Director: What Enduring Effects Will COVID-19 Have on Education in Mississippi?

Classrooms on campuses across the state sit empty and silent while educators and administrators of students from Pre-K to postsecondary programs scramble to identify and implement new methods and modes of teaching during a time when teachers and students are separated by miles. The immediate and dramatic shift to virtual classrooms caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated inequities that exist at every level of education in Mississippi, with many low-income and rural students unable to access the technology required to shift to online learning.

Decades of disinvestment in poor, rural communities has limited access to technology thereby increasing achievement gaps, and if we do not develop a thoughtful and coordinated response that lasts beyond the COVID-19 crisis and that includes educators, parents, nonprofits, philanthropy, and public sector leaders, there could potentially be very negative impacts on the state’s education system and economy.

The Alliance’s Education Affinity Group (EAG) was established to convene funders supporting education at all levels to better understand education issues in the state, to learn from each other about what philanthropic investments are currently underway, and to identify ways philanthropy can help solve some of the state’s most persistent education challenges. EAG members recognize the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to highlight the inequities that impact learning and to develop longer term strategies to rectify these inequities. The EAG will be inviting several funders and leaders in education to share their thoughts about how education inequity is showing up during COVID-19 and what nonprofits, funders, and the government should be considering as we move from response to recovery.

Over the next few months, The Ally will feature brief articles about relevant issues impacting education, including that of inequity. We will feature written pieces from individuals with knowledge about the field, beginning next month with an article from Jim McHale, CEO of the Woodward Hines Education Foundation.  We will also keep readers up to date on what is being learned from the Education Affinity Group conversations.

– Sammy Moon, Executive Director

Responding to the Enormous Need During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Nonprofit Perspective

By Dixie Renault, Project Director, Manna Ministries

On March 1, 2020, based on state and national recommendations regarding the COVID-19, Manna Ministries began to reassess our programs. Assuring patients that our free primary care medical clinic is available and that they still have access to care and medications is a priority. So immediately, we implemented telehealth operations in order to protect our patients and our volunteers. Many people have lost their jobs, or had their hours reduced. Those who cannot afford their medications any longer, have continued to receive our assistance. Manna Ministries had provided a food delivery program for shut-ins for many years. The need for food delivery has increased ten-fold due to the COVID-19 virus. Many of our clients are older citizens who are considered high risk due to age and/or compromised health conditions.

On March 16, we began making deliveries of food, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, etc. to a senior housing community that had requested our assistance. The residents were self-isolating and full of uncertainty about themselves and their families. In addition to food and supplies, we delivered some Easter baskets to them to provide some cheer.

Until our supplies ran out, we delivered personal protective equipment to our first responders, some of the local clinics and the hospital. We have ordered more, but as you can imagine our resources are rapidly diminishing. We are scrambling on two fronts now; to ramp up emergency services, and to find volunteers and resources to help those in need. We continue to receive daily requests for assistance at all levels.

I know we are not alone in this struggle. Nonprofits across our nation find themselves in unprecedented circumstances, attempting to fulfill greater obligations than ever before. I am sure non-profits in all our cities would request that funders reconsider their allocation of resources at this deeply challenging time. While I fully realize that this is a monumental request, there is enormous need right now. The essentials of everyday living are more difficult to sustain. From the need for food, personal protective equipment, medical access, and volunteers, the list is long and the need is great. I know that nonprofits across our nation will rise to the occasion.

That is what we do. Every day.

Member Spotlight

Manna Ministries

Picayune

Since their founding in 1999, Manna Ministries goal has been to help families and or individuals reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty.

In time of human need, Manna Ministries provides and restores health and support to those in need without regard to geographical areas. Every day families struggle to make ends meet and suffer from lack of basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare.

Since the organization’s founding, Picayune based Manna Ministries has provided more than $5 million to aid families in all of our programs. Last year alone, the organization served over 32,000 families through our various programs. Following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac, Manna Ministries assisted 1,800 families with repairs or rebuilds to their homes through their disaster case management program.

At Manna Ministries, their slogan says it best: “Together we can make a difference”.

News & Updates

The COVID-19 crisis has been a time of learning. Many people have learned new tunes to sing while washing their hands, how to make face coverings, how to attend a webinar, and how to order groceries online. While this can be a time of frustration and anxiety, The Alliance wants to help make this a productive time as well. What better way to spend some extra hours then attending one or more of our webinars?

During the course of May, we will be offering some incredible new webinars that will be taught by leaders in the field and adapted to meet the current situation. But wait, it gets better. We appreciate that money is tight, so we have cut our pricing by more than half! Our aim is to be able to make this so accessible that you will join us for more than one and bring some friends and colleagues along with you.

When you fill out our May Training Registration Form, if you sign up for one training it will be $25. If you sign up for two trainings they will only be $20 each. If you sign up for three trainings, they will only cost you $15 each! To see the full list of webinars you can visit https://alliancems.org/alliance-site/event-directory/.

Want more of the Alliance? Not a problem. You can see Sammy, Ellen, Jeffery and the rest of the team during our Weekly Webinars. This is a time to get updates about The Alliance, have expert presenters discuss important things happening in the state, and network with other organizations in MS. Join us each Thursday from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM! Click here to participate.

Nonprofit & Philanthropic News

Mississipi Secretary of State Charity Registrations Extended to July 15

Due to the IRS COVID-19 relief efforts and in compliance with the law, the expiration date for renewal registrations due by May 15, 2020, has been extended to July 15, 2020. However, filers wishing to file the renewal registration today may do so at this time and are encouraged to file now. You may contact the Division at charities.customerservice@sos.ms.gov or 601-359-1599 for additional information.

Why All Foundations Should Support the Guardians of the Nonprofit World Now

[W]e need to do more to ensure that nonprofits get the help they need when new stimulus bills are crafted and implementation plans for existing ones are shaped. And throughout this critical period we need full-throated advocacy campaigns to make certain that America’s most marginalized people don’t face the prospect of entrenched inequities becoming even deeper.

Think about it: Every philanthropic strategy depends on the health of nonprofits. A philanthropist’s work can be no stronger than the nonprofit organizations actually doing the work.

Read the entire article here.

Rethinking Social Change in the Face of Coronavirus

COVID-19 has affected every aspect of life around the globe, from individual relationships to institutional operations to international collaborations. As societies try to defend themselves through severe restrictions on people’s movement and interactions, the disease continues to decimate families, upend governments, crush economies, and tear through the social sector.

How should the social sector respond to the evolving crisis? How will nonprofits, foundations, philanthropic organizations, and social justice advocates emerge from the pandemic? What unique insight and capabilities can civil society bring to bear on the problems the world now faces? How will organizations manage potentially calamitous challenges to funding their operations?

Read the entire article here.

Fundraising in the Time of COVID: A TechSoup Roundup

These are certainly strange days. People are sheltering in place and taking a much closer look at their finances in case of sickness and emergency. It just doesn’t seem like the right time for business-as-usual nonprofit fundraising — and it probably isn’t. But not so fast, says Ben Miller, chief analytic officer of DonorTrends and secretary of the Growth in Giving Initiative, a program of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). If we look at what happened during the Great Recession, giving to nonprofits remained steady, with only slight declines over the entire period.

His insights are in the recent AFP article Charitable Giving in Times of Fear and Uncertainty. Miller concludes, “When the current crisis ends, history will show that the most successful nonprofits continued to ask for donations, although likely in a different way. Those nonprofits who go ‘silent’ or attempt to give their donors a break will likely see the same results as others before them — and suffer or even go out of business as a result.”

Read the entire article here.

Hub for Volunteerism, Capacity-Building, and Training

New & Renewing Members of The Alliance

Charles L. Young Sr. Foundation

Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities

First Church of Deliverance

Gordon Community and Cultural Center

Mississippi Families for Kids

Mississippi Press Association Education Foundation

MS Delta Academies

Second Liners Mardi Gras Club

Waynesboro-Wayne County Library

Wildlife Mississippi

Wingard Home Ministry

Upcoming Training & Events

COVID-19 Weekly Webinar Update

When:  Every Thursday
Time:    9:00 am – 10:00 am
Where: Online Webinar

 The Alliance will host a weekly COVID-19 webinar update, beginning this Thursday, April 2nd. The webinars will occur at the same time each week. The focus will be on learning, sharing, identifying needs/resources, and generally supporting each other. Please take a moment and add these webinars to your calendar!

 https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/777167189

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: 1-872-240-3212
Access Code: 777-167-189

Telling Your Story in Times of Crisis

When:  Monday, May 11
Time:    1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Where: Online Webinar 

There’s no denying that these are tough times. When times are tough, it’s really common for organizations to struggle with what to say, particularly on social media, but in other outlets also. Do you stick with your old messaging and pretend it’s still business as usual? Do you commit your feed to only COVID-19 related posts from now on?

Human Resources in a Time of Crisis

When:  Wednesday, May 13
Time:    9:00 am – 10:30 am
Where: Online Webinar

Diseases like COVID-19 can bring a busy workforce to a standstill. Organizations have to take numerous steps to limit the risk to your community from the possible spread of the virus. Human Resources continues to respond to the evolving situation by reviewing and updating related policies and procedures.

Basic Grant Proposal Strategies Part 1 of 3

When:  Thursday, May 21, 28, and June 4
Time:    1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Where: Online Webinar

This class is designed for beginners, as well as practiced grant writers who need to understand the elements of a proposal and how to successfully integrate each into a compelling proposal, as well as the process for successful grant research. 

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