In April, Fair Chance launched the Care Calls initiative to ensure our alumni nonprofits had the support and access to resources to sustain programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Surveys were sent out to the network and then Fair Chance’s program staff followed up with phone calls to Executive Directors to check-in on survey responses and/or to gather information on their needs. Due to a delay in selecting new partners due to COVID-19, this support was also provided to applicants for the 2021 cohort of DC partners. The calls will continue over the next several months as well as specific services that have been designed to address needs expressed in the calls.

Each call starts with relationship building — program staff build trust by acknowledging a statement of confidentiality. Subsequently, questions are centered on the impact of COVID-19 on the organization, from finances to staffing to the general feelings on the organizational impact. Calls wrap up with suggested programming from individual virtual office hours to communities of practice sessions to advocacy supportive efforts.

A few points of interest we learned from the calls:

  1. A majority of nonprofit organizations modified their programs in order to continue serving youth
  2. Over 50% of Fair Chance alumni were able to apply and receive PPP funds, whereas only about 30% of applicants were able to secure this funding
  3. Organizations are worried about financial stability in 2021
  4. Nonprofits are seeking individual support as the best way for capacity building, like virtual office hours.
  5. Most are looking for additional technological support for virtual meetings, workforce, and fundraising.

The Care Calls have been a vital touch point between Fair Chance and our network. The initiative has provided the quantitative and qualitative information necessary to develop comprehensive support systems for our nonprofits during the COVID-19 crisis. We look forward to sharing more about these programs and their impact in future communications.