Study: 1 in 3 nonprofits at risk of shutting down within 2 years

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — The pandemic has taken a toll on countless businesses and organizations across our state. Now, a new study shows more than one third of nonprofits across the country and here in Colorado could be in jeopardy of closing within two years due to financial fallout from COVID-19.

It’s a troubling situation for Colorado’s nonprofits to be in.

Overall, there are more than 23,000 nonprofit organizations spread out across our state.

The new study, released by the Philanthropy Research Group ‘Candid’ and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, analyzed roughly 300,000 nonprofits and looked at how they would end up under 20 different scenarios with varying levels of severity.

The research revealed in a worst-case scenario, 38% of nonprofits would fold within two years.

In Denver and across Colorado, the struggle to stay afloat has been difficult for local non-profits, including Firefly Autism in Lakewood.

The organization’s Executive Director wasn’t shocked by the new study.

“I’m surprised it’s not higher, to be honest with you. Because nonprofits as a rule live from hand to mouth – what they get in is what they’re able to put out. At the end of the day, we’re a nonprofit. We’re not a for profit business,” said Jesse Ogas, Executive Director of Firefly Autism.

Had it not been for PPP loans, Ogas said he’s not sure if Firefly Autism would’ve been able to weather the storm.

“We are now over 100 employees, we’ve expanded programs by adding Diagnostics, mental health, adult services, sibling programs, Parent Support Groups, Parent Training!”

Other nonprofits, like Food Bank Of the Rockies found itself in a fortunate situation during the pandemic.

“I can tell you, it was pretty terrifying when COVID hit. We knew we were going to be called upon unlike any other time in our 42 year history,” explained Erin Pulling, CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies. “That means spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month un-budgeted on food and increased drivers and warehouse team members. And it was pretty terrifying to write those first checks on a wing and a prayer the public was going to step up alongside Food Bank of the Rockies. And they have. We’ve seen an outpouring of support”.

Smaller, more rural nonprofits like ‘Break The Silence’ in Fort Morgan, found themselves in similar situation.

“Honestly, we were worried that Break The Silence, as a nonprofit, was going to be able to stay afloat,” said Kelly Paris, Founder & Director of Break The Silence. “With the support of so many community members and businesses and just people who supported the cause, we actually raised enough money to do the suicide awareness festival”.

Colorado’s nonprofits directly employ nearly 190,000 employees.

If you’d like to help a specific organization, nonprofits say the best way to do so is through a donation.

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