This Tuesday, December 1 is known as Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving back. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: A day that encourages people to do good. Over the years it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, volunteer, and celebrate generosity. This year, you can join the movement by supporting Love City Strong, and our efforts to create a more prepared St. John. Click here to donate now. At LCS, our mission is to ensure that the community of St. John is able to respond, recover, and prepare for disasters. Our approach to disaster preparedness centers on three main initiatives: Community outreach and empowerment, stockpiling emergency supplies, and professional training for our team to make us more effective as first responders. To that end, we have already made a lot of progress over the last 3 years. We created 3 secure storage areas across the island that house a variety of response supplies including boxed water, MREs, solar lights, and first aid supplies. Our team calls or visits over 200 households with seniors both prior to and directly after any tropical weather event of any size; if the senior needs help putting up their shutters or securing their property, we head to their home and help. We have spent several years giving away File of Life and waterproof, flashing emergency lights to people all over the island, and offering to make free home address signs for seniors in an effort to ensure that emergency workers can get to them quicker and easier. With your help this Giving Tuesday, we can do even more to respond to disasters. While we often fundraise for specific projects (like the Resilient Housing Initiative), 2020 has taught us that it is important to have unrestricted funding available as well. Unrestricted donations are funds that can be spent on anything that we identify as a community need, rather than specific projects that we are already working on. This ensures that we can spring into action and address any crisis that may arise. With unrestricted donations, we were able to create and execute community programs in response to COVID-19 quickly and efficiently. This year, programs like our island-wide meal distribution program alongside World Central Kitchen and the purchase and distribution of thousands of reusable face masks across the island were funded by flexible, unrestricted donations. Unrestricted funding also allows us to employ St. John residents and hire St. John businesses to help us do the work. This Giving Tuesday, join the global movement for good by supporting our efforts through unrestricted funding. If you make your donation via our Global Giving Foundation page, they will distribute additional funds to all of the charities that Global Giving sponsors around the world this year, including LCS, as part of the #MoveAMillion campaign. No matter which causes you donate to or support this year, we encourage everyone to give a little back this Giving Tuesday. Nonprofits play a crucial role in their communities, and they rely on our love to keep them going. Celebrate their efforts through a donation this December 1.
As COVID-19 continues its impact across the globe, nonprofit organizations have stepped up to help their communities by addressing gaps in the pandemic response in a variety of ways. In turn, there has been a significant trend in large philanthropic organizations rising to the occasion and modifying the way they do business with nonprofits. Some foundations have helped by ramping up their allotment of funds to cover general operating costs — A sticking point in an industry that demands low overhead yet high benchmarks for success and sweeping outcomes — While others have extended funding deadlines or shifted funding requirements entirely. At Love City Strong, many of our original plans for 2020 were put on hold temporarily (or in some cases indefinitely) in favor of pivoting to address community needs caused by the pandemic. Providing PPE to first responders and healthcare workers, feeding the community during the Virgin Islands’ initial lockdown, and bulking up a backstock supply of PPE in anticipation of a second wave of cases became our priorities. Fortunately, we benefited from the flexibility and generosity of one of our key philanthropic funders. The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) has been a tremendous help to our organization in this time of need. They not only allowed funds granted in 2019 to be extended through the end of 2020, but also for the funding to be pivoted from its original purpose, and instead used for our COVID-19 response efforts. Without their support, none of our COVID-19 microprograms would be possible. It is refreshing and heartening to see large donors and philanthropic organizations like CFVI pivot to address funding the world’s ever changing needs, just as NGOs have pivoted to address those needs on the ground. I believe that this fluid, all-hazards approach is the future of efficient and inclusive disaster response, as nonprofits and faith based organizations continue to do what is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the communities that they serve. With less trepidation about funding general operating costs, and relaxed requirements on how philanthropic funding can be used, there is no telling how much nonprofits can accomplish moving forward. The question is whether these philanthropic commitments to increase funds, provide more flexibility, and limit asks of nonprofits will become part of the “new normal” — Or whether the habits of big donors will return to business as usual.