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Survey finds 1 in 4 B.C. non-profits could close due to COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Up to 20% of B.C. non-profits may not survive pandemic' Up to 20% of B.C. non-profits may not survive pandemic
WATCH: Charities and non-profit organizations are among those hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis – May 16, 2020

Almost one in four B.C. non-profit organizations believes they could be forced to close down within the next six months, due to COVID-19.

That’s according to a new survey from The Vantage Point, an organization that does training and consulting for non-profit groups.

The survey, which heard from 1,000 organizations, also found that 74 per cent had seen fundraising revenue fall, while 59 per cent had seen earned income dry up.

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Seventy-eight per cent are seeing a disruption in services.

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House is one of those organizations, with its daycare shut down and a number of staff laid off.

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“Our work is built on social connection, and now with physical distancing in place it’s very difficult for people to come together face-to-face,” said executive director Zahara Esmail.

“Our organizations have really had to pivot in response to the emergency needs that are arising in our communities.”

Esmail says the organization has started doing emergency food distribution and is acting as a hub for the province’s new 211 seniors support line.

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Alison Brewin, executive director of The Vantage Point says the unexpected pressures of COVID-19 could have serious long term consequences for non-profits.

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HandyDART making deliveries for those in need – May 14, 2020

“Government simply can’t afford to provide service for every single individual in this province who needs it,” she said.

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“We fill this gap. And this gap, as soon as COVID-19 hit, became a cavern. And that gap is going to remain for a long time to come.”

Brewin said the way people think about funding for non-profits needs to change, so that donors and government don’t penalize them for investing in infrastructure and keeping cash reserves for emergencies such as this.

Vancouver Foundation President and CEO Kevin McCort said his organization has given out thousands of dollars in grants to non-profits during the pandemic, but has been beset with requests for millions.

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He said the possibility of losing non-profits risks hurt the province’s most vulnerable.

“People who are getting that service, whether its a food service or a shelter service or a mental-health service, that service provider may be gone,” he said.

“And that will disrupt people’s lives even more profoundly, because they won’t know where to turn.”

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