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COVID-19 Challenges Local Nonprofits

AP Photo/Caleb Jones
A man get dressed on a mostly empty stretch of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu on Saturday, March 28, 2020.

In addition to the health challenges of the COVID19 pandemic, the economic consequences are hitting every sector in the islands. And that includes non-profit organizations. Many are stepping up to meet critical needs such as food insecurity and homelessness — even as they are suffering financial pain themselves.

Hawaii’s nonprofits collectively employ 53,000 people, just over 11% of the state’s workforce, generating more than $8.24 billion in annual revenues. Some of them, very visibly providing social safety-net services, have seen an increase in in-kind donations. However, for most nonprofits, the economic shutdown to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections has been as devastating as for every other sector.

This week PBN spoke to such nonprofits as Hawaii Islands Land Trust and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. Both are looking back to 9/11 and the 2008 recessions as models for a possible recovery. Both are seeing losses for the year ahead. The Land Trust is looking at revenues 50% lower than expected for the year. HAIS is seeing independent schools taking a variety of hits, from parents unable to afford tuition to stock market drops that have weakened their investment foundations, which in turn hampers their ability to offer financial aid.

Nonprofits do qualify for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The Hawaii Association Nonprofit Organizations has been helping nonprofits with the application process and encouraging those who haven’t received loans yet to prepare their paperwork for the second round of PPP that Congress approved this week.

Lisa Maruyama, HANO president and CEO, notes that the PPP process has been a bit of a struggle, as it is geared toward for-profit businesses, but Hawaii entities have received loans already. HANO has also been working with local government to help ensure that nonprofits that deliver services under public contract are getting paid on time.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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