The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) is incredibly proud of the work Social Innovators are doing every day. During this crisis, their efforts to maintain connections with their community members and ensure their programs continue to operate while they also pivot to meet new, immediate needs with fewer resources make it exceptionally clear their work is more important than ever. Many of our funders and volunteers have stepped up with support while others are asking, “How can we help?”
With that in mind, we will regularly share stories from our current cohort of 2020 Social Innovators and Alumni organizations, spotlight members of our funder portfolio who have responded quickly and effectively, and offer additional resources that can help you reflect on a range of different perspectives and experiences of those in our community during the COVID-19 crisis. As you receive these updates, we hope that you will respond and reach out about how you can offer support.
Updates from our 2020 Social Innovators
Adaptive Sports New England, 2020 Social InnovatorAdaptive Sports New England (ASNE), continues to increase participation in sports among New England youth and young adults who have visual or mobility impairments despite being unable to bring all the athletes together during this crisis. As they wait for a safe time to reconvene, ASNE has focused on efforts to promote awareness through communications with its community. The ASNE team has also been actively working with Adaptive Sports USA, Disabled Sports USA, and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to influence and coordinate state and national initiatives. Individuals with a visual or mobility impairment often experience isolation under normal circumstances, and the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing this challenge. However, ASNE continues to stay in touch with its community and is working to keeping everyone motivated.
The organization is in need of general operating funds to ensure it is in a strong position when programming re-opens. Additionally, ASNE is seeking donors to support the purchase of sports wheelchairs ($2,500 each) for five youth in its program. Wheelchair racing is a sport that can be practiced with appropriate social distancing!
Boston HERC (Higher Education Resource Center) has had to adapt quickly to face an unprecedented challenge. With Boston Public Schools (BPS) closed, Passport Coaches are meeting with their students via Zoom, text, phone calls, emails, and social media. The COVID-19 crisis has served as a catalyst to provide, far earlier than envisioned, additional remote support services to Passport Alumni, many of whom find themselves adrift at this time, some with their semesters canceled, or others learning online, or still others without a place to live or “go home” to. Boston HERC plans to deepen and evolve its capacity to connect to Passport students during this crisis. The organization will hold virtual “town halls,” virtual college tours, and virtual career fairs, develop a schedule of live and pre-recorded webinars, and offer a series of fun, interactive activities to combat potentially corrosive social isolation of April school break.
Boston HERC, 2020 Social Innovator
Boston HERC is making these shifts with the support of key funders, some of whom have converted specific program grants into general operating funds. However, the coronavirus pandemic has left a measurable impact on the Boston HERC’s financial forecast for this year, and the organization is facing an immediate loss of funding from the cancellation of its May Closing Celebration.
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For additional information or questions, please contact Executive Director Sam Acevedo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Resources & Readings
More than 440 nonprofits sign Independent Sector's open letter asking financial institutions to prioritize nonprofits to ensure equitable access to SBA 7(a) loans for those that qualify as part of the CARES Act.
Nonprofit Finance Fund offers excellent COVID-19 resources & tools for nonprofits