Hudson Valley Nonprofits Struggling to Survive, Serve Under Pandemic Financial Burdens

Region’s Charitable Foundations Band Together to Explore Solutions

Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations are struggling to survive the negative financial impacts brought on by the ongoing pandemic as they simultaneously strive to meet the growing needs of the many communities they serve, according to a recent survey of 291 nonprofits conducted by the New York Council on Nonprofits (NYCON) on behalf of a consortium of the region’s charitable foundations. Respondents included nonprofits serving communities in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. In response to the survey’s dire findings, the network of philanthropic foundations is exploring ways to provide targeted financial and technical assistance to nonprofits, particularly those providing essential human services.

Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations are struggling to survive the negative financial impacts brought on by the ongoing pandemic as they simultaneously strive to meet the growing needs of the many communities they serve, according to a recent survey of 291 nonprofits conducted by the New York Council on Nonprofits (NYCON) on behalf of a consortium of the region’s charitable foundations. Respondents included nonprofits serving communities in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. In response to the survey’s dire findings, the network of philanthropic foundations is exploring ways to provide targeted financial and technical assistance to nonprofits, particularly those providing essential human services.

“The adverse impact of the pandemic on nonprofits in the Hudson Valley region is dramatic. Services that people are relying on to meet their needs are quickly eroding as nonprofits are reducing their workforce, shutting down programs, and even permanently going out of business; all making it even more challenging for the region to economically recover,” stated NYCON CEO Doug Sauer.

Among its many findings, the survey, which reflected data gathered from June 29 through July 14, revealed that as many as 30 percent of respondents—or 75 nonprofits—were “very likely, likely, or somewhat likely” to go out of business as a result of the financial hardships they were weathering. Among all respondents, 79 percent stated they experienced revenue shortfalls since the pandemic hit and New York State-mandated shutdowns were implemented in March 2020.

The NYCON survey was sponsored by a broad coalition of Hudson Valley-based charitable foundations, including: Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, Dyson Foundation, Foundation for Community Health, and Westchester Community Foundation. This coalition is part of a broader Hudson Valley Funders Group that also includes the Field Hall Foundation, Ralph E. Ogden Foundation, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, United Way of Ulster County, and United Way of Westchester and Putnam, among others.

Some additional findings from the NYCON survey include: 

  • On average, responding nonprofits expected a decrease in annual revenue of 41%
  • Those nonprofits without a cash reserve or access to a bank credit line—generally smaller nonprofits—were much more likely to experience significant revenue losses
  • 60% applied for and received funding from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP)
  • Nonprofits providing education and childcare related services were among those organizations most at risk of failing
  • 62% of respondents were open to exploring collaborations, partnerships, or alliances to help them become more efficient and continue operations
  • Nonprofits surveyed identified the areas where they needed the most technical assistance in order to weather the financial storm: fundraising (65%); planning and strategy (60%); finance, operations & technology (45%); organizational leadership (38%), and marketing & communications (33%).

Hudson Valley philanthropic foundation coalition members are currently exploring the most effective ways to respond to the findings of the NYCON survey, including assisting with the formation of new collaborative solutions and providing other forms of technical assistance to assist organizations to emerge stronger, restructure or create mergers and affiliations.
People are urged to support their favorite organizations and donate to COVID-19 Response funds in their community.

To view the NYCON Summary, click here