Mass. Nonprofits Getting Back on Track after Shutdown Ends

January 27, 2019 — Operations at Massachusetts nonprofits affected by the partial federal government shutdown, which came to an end on Friday after 35 days, are slowly getting back on track, though unevenly, with many waiting to hear when funding streams will resume.

For example, a spokeswoman for the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a Boston nonprofit that provides financial support, staffing, and resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, said the staff hasn’t heard when the site will open, according to report in today's Boston Globe. It's website noted that the museum "will open as we complete restart procedures."

On Thursday, the state's nonprofit trade association, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN), based on an online survey it completed, said Massachusetts nonprofits were being affected by:
  • Disruptions in current funding streams, including delays in current grant programs, uncertainty around entitlement funding, and little to no federal technical assistance on grant and program administration
  • Delays in current or upcoming grant cycles, including uncertainty around the status of completed applications and planned projects

  • Lapses in federal approvals needed to carry out local projects and activities

  • Reduced ability to carry out daily operations while facing an increased demand for services
“The results of the survey speak to the incredible strain on nonprofits caused by the uncertainty of federal funding and increased demand for services,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN. “Many organizations are on the front lines serving furloughed federal employees and others who are impacted by the shutdown.”

On Wednesday, Michael Weekes, president and CEO of the Providers' Council, a statewide association of health and human service agencies based in Boston, in a letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, wrote, that its members have reported "a significant impact due to the federal government shutdown," which, in turn, affected their ability to provide housing, food, and heating assistance, and other vital services.

Erin McAleer, president of Project Bread, a nonprofit based in East Boston, which is the only statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts, according to MNN, said, "Our clients—SNAP recipients—are confused and anxious. We are hearing from more people who need help accessing food, including furloughed federal employees. Mitigating the impact of the shutdown is our top priority, but as a nonprofit, the attention the shutdown demands is consuming significant resources and staff time across our entire organization."

Paul Mina, president and CEO of the United Way of Pioneer Valley, based in Springfield, reported an uptick in calls to Mass 2-1-1, a service created and staffed by the United Way to connect callers to information about critical health and human services programs.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, a Boston nonprofit that serves girls throughout eastern Massachusetts, created an emergency fund to help families struggling financially due to the government shutdown register their girl for its summer camps.

Jodi Falk, director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts in Springfield, held a special food drive to aid the affected families in the western Massachusetts, collecting 300 pounds of food in its first two hours.