Nonprofits in Maryland have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response effort, stepping up to address emergency needs. While responding to the crisis, nonprofits have lost staff members, board members and loved ones, and endured massive shifts and in many cases declines in revenue. With resilience, many started entirely new food distribution programs, rental assistance programs, and other ways to address unprecedented levels of need. These needs have now stretched for more than 18 months of physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting work for nonprofit staff and volunteers.
In Maryland and around the nation, Black and Latino communities were hardest hit by COVID-19, experiencing the highest levels of illness, deaths, job losses, social isolation, and evictions. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor brought issues of race to the forefront of our nation's consciousness.
This survey aimed to uncover issues of racial equity within the nonprofit sector itself.
The findings in our COVID-19 and Racial Equity Survey show two nonprofit sectors: one that is far more challenging and inequitably structured for Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous People leading nonprofit organizations, compared to the nonprofit sector experienced by white leaders. Organizations led by people of color saw greater declines in resources during COVID-19 and had lower levels of reserves going into the pandemic than white-led organizations. White-led nonprofits were more likely to be larger organizations that were able to pivot and grow by accessing more relief funds during the pandemic.
By sharing this data, we hope Maryland governments and philanthropists will be motivated to re-design funding programs, making programs accessible and intentionally directing funding to community-based and people-of color-led organizations.