Recently, my wife and I had the great honour of being named “Laudable Londoners” by PHSS (formerly Participation House Foundation). We were glad to be honoured as we saw it as a chance to assist in raising money for a great organization. PHSS is a non-profit charity that owns and operates group homes and supportive housing for mentally and physically challenged people, primarily in the London area, but it has recently branched out into other areas of Ontario. It is funded partly by Government of Ontario ministries, but it also relies on donations from the community. The Laudable Londoners event is one way that PHSS raises funds for its vulnerable client population. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the event had to be postponed. We hope it will be re-scheduled to later this year.
This is not an isolated occurrence. Many non-profit organizations are undergoing profound stress as their traditional sources of giving funds are disrupted. This is particularly difficult for a group like PHSS, which has personal service workers working tirelessly with their clients in a group home setting. This is now a high risk job, and the workers need support so they can continue their important work helping the very vulnerable people in their care.
Many not-for-profits are trying to cope with the rapidly changing landscape by creatively adapting current programs. For example, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada annually has a Brain Tumour Foundation Walk Program. They announced last week that they are planning on running the walk program this spring, but it will be a virtual walk. They have not fully developed the plans, but they quickly adapted a traditional model to try to fit our new normal.
This is the type of creative thinking that will help non-profit organizations survive this difficult time. It also underlines the need for people to remember the most vulnerable and at risk people in our society at this difficult time. This includes all front line health care workers and personal service workers who are caring for the elderly and people who need support. As a society we need to not lose sight of the many organizations which need our financial help in the best of times, and we will need these organizations after we come through this crisis. It is inspiring to see how some organizations are adapting quickly; we should consider as individuals how we can contribute financially to their ongoing survival and success.