READING, Pa. - While lockdown restrictions have eased, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt months later.
Kevin Murphy, the president of Reading-based Berks County Community Foundation, said mitigation efforts prevented area nonprofits from filling up their pocketbooks during a crucial time for revenue.
"We saw, for instance, with a lot of our arts groups, they were very dependent on a spring fundraising event that wasn't able to come off because of the lockdown," Murphy said, "so we had a lot of art and culture groups go to what we call revenue zero."
The strains are being felt across Pennsylvania. A group of organizations surveyed about 800 organizations in the state. The study found revenue losses of $612 million and new operating expenses of $95 million, since many were hit with additional costs to respond to the pandemic.
Murphy said the Helping Harvest food bank and the area's food pantries were some of the hardest hit.
"Both became very difficult for them to get food donated," but there was also an incredible surge in demand," Murphy said.
So, to help offset some of the losses the Berks County Community Foundation stepped in, offering about $350,000 in emergency grants, but ultimately, some organizations were still forced to cut staff, and many still have a long road ahead.
"We said to people: 'If you want to help, find the organization that's most important to you and donate as generously as you can,'" Murphy said.