Our world — and our work — have changed dramatically since February’s newsletter. This month we’ll share member responses to COVID19 in four dimensions of our work: funding, online delivery of programs and events, volunteer engagement and ageism. 

Join our March 31 video conversation on COVID19’s impact on your encore program, the first in a bi-weekly, member-only series. Register here.


Community foundations in Cleveland, Dayton and Grand Rapids have established COVID19 relief funds, each in partnership with its local United Way and other local funders. Those funds will support nonprofits providing safety net services to vulnerable residents. Rose Community Foundation has contributed to Help Colorado Now, a statewide fund to support virus response and recovery. 

Calculating the impact, sharing stories: Cincinnati Cares website lets local nonprofits quantify their financial losses and reductions in volunteer hours, and highlight COVID19’s impact on clients and staff

Learning: The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities offered this webinar on fundraising implications for human service organizations. Next up for members and non-members: From Sustainability to Survivability, March 31, 4:30pm ET/3:30pm CT, 2:30pm MT, 1:30pm PT. Register here

Government support: Check the National Council of Nonprofits and your state nonprofit association website for the latest on financial support and tax relief proposals.  

Online program and event delivery 

Oasis, a national organization promoting healthy aging through lifelong learning, active lifestyles and volunteer engagement, has used conference call technology to expand its Conversations that Count program to combat social isolation. Three (of nine) Oasis centers have moved to online programs for the spring semester. This spring, Oasis will launch a virtual “Oasis Everywhere” center allowing a national audience access to its programs. 

Pass It On Network has transformed its April 7 Lifelong Earning and Learning program from an in-person, limited-attendance session to a global call-in. Co-founder Jan Hively cited many benefits: no travel time or expense, greater capacity, the ease of online breakout groups and session recordings that preserve the event. 

The Transition Network, a community for women 50 and forward, is fast-forwarding leaders’ use of Zoom video conferencing and offering Skype tutorials for members. 

Volunteer engagement

Cincinnati Cares has fast-forwarded development of virtual volunteer opportunities, offering filters by age, location, mission area and activities. 

Boomers Leading Change highlights at-home opportunities including phone banks, phone connections with isolated older adults and roles for retired teachers. 


After years of challenging stereotypes about older adults, the COVID19 narrative of “frail elderly people age 60+” feels like a big setback. Ageism and Coronavirus, Why Reframing is Crucial — a blog by Janine Vanderburg, lead at Changing the Narrative Colorado, and Sara Breindel — distills the value of older adults and the risks of ageism run rampant. The post closes with these powerful thoughts:  

Fighting ageism and fighting coronavirus are intertwined. We need older adults to remain healthy and active. We must reframe aging because it is both right and entirely practical. Let us not allow ageism and the coronavirus to blind us to the obvious. Ageism hurts us all right now.

Published: March 25, 2020