Natalie Jacobsen is the senior manager of marketing and communications at the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area. She works in tandem with a superstar team of passionate marketing professionals to develop inspiring messages and materials encouraging federal employees to donate to charities. An avid advocate, traveler, plant mom, writer and photographer, she has found her dream role at Global Impact, where her interests and ambitions collide in the best possible combination. When she isn’t fervently scratching her head over her keyboard to find the right words, she’s jet-setting to push her own boundaries, learning new perspectives, ideas, and cultures – and finding moments in between to capture on notepad and film.
How charities are helping in the era of the new coronavirus
Around the world, every minute, charities save lives. They work around the clock to provide essential programs that support sustainability and improve living conditions for millions. One falter, interruption in care, pause in fundraising or sudden increase in need could create an unstable situation for many, compromising the effort to help everyone in need. For charities and those they serve, each of those 525,600 minutes in a year counts – and in a pandemic, every second matters.
One by one, countries begin to close borders, order residents to “shelter in place,” and halt or reduce production and work. Yet charities continue to respond, filling the gaps to assist the public sector, stepping in where and when others cannot. As populations do their part to practice social-distancing and ration necessities, charities are clearing the path forward and acting where they are most needed.
Global Impact’s Charity Alliance partners are already working around the world to support refugees, supply clean water, strengthen health systems, enhance education and more. As the World Health Organization now classifies the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic, these organizations will also incorporate coronavirus responses in all of their communications, training and programs. Efforts moving forward to support those in need will have to address the threat of this new disease.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic is steering nonprofit operations down a challenging path. Instead of charities responding only to needs in a remote, rural or developing areas, they are faced with the disaster knocking on their own doors as well. Responders, volunteers and charity staff are directly impacted – with family members at risk, governments limiting travel and ordering employees to telework, and businesses and programs shuttering.
To further strain these conditions, convoluted messages are coming from multiple sources. Statements are being made faster than they can be published, and by the time they are, many have already expired or evolved into a newly changed regulation or guideline. Many of these statements and messages are addressing the politics of the response to the coronavirus, leaving the public to challenge the accuracy of the information they receive. We are missing out on updates from the nonprofit community about how they are directly responding to the pandemic with boots on the ground or through fundraising efforts. They are facing the outbreak firsthand and head-on; their staff are applying innovation and experience from other global health crises to solve this pandemic, and donors are providing hope through their generous support.
It’s time to recognize the multitude of ways charities are helping – and bottom line is they are. Charities all around are digging deep into their savings and abilities to have all-hands-on-deck, even when their own are at risk, and even when the subject is outside of their usual scope.
In response to the COVID 19 pandemic – and to support the life changing work of its Charity Alliance partners – Global Impact established the Coronavirus Outbreak Fund. The charities are responding domestically and around the world to tangibly address critical humanitarian needs – and you can help today by contributing to the fund.
- ALIMA USA, The Alliance for International Medical Action: Coordinating with the Ministries of Health in current countries of operation to strengthen capacity; working on prevention and treatment measures; supporting triage, patient flow, infection prevention and control measures, and case management of patients in Senegal.
- Americares: Delivered 6 tons of protective supplies around the world, including 13 shipments to partner clinics serving low-income and uninsured patients in the U.S.; conducting interventions and enhancements in free clinics domestically and around the globe; building capacity for health workers; training at-risk facilities in infection prevention control; addressing mental health and psychosocial support services; preparing to mobilize medical personnel for overwhelmed health facilities.
- Amref Health Africa: Launching a two-month campaign to train and educate health workers.
- CARE: Setting up isolation spaces in refugee camps for safe quarantine; preparing supply kits to distribute to people who show symptoms; prepositioning emergency supplies, including tents to expand isolation wards if needed.
- Direct Relief: Delivered via FedEx more than 30,000 pounds of protective gear — including N95 and surgical masks, gloves, coveralls, face shields, and shoe covers — in the U.S., China and around the globe.
- Food For The Poor: Sent 20 pallets of health supplies to Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica to help children and families prevent transmission of COVID-19.
- International Medical Corps: Engaging all of its mission countries through its global taskforce of more than 7,000 staff members spanning 30 countries; addressing COVID-19 in conflict zones and in areas already at risk for Ebola.
- MAP International: Airlifted 2 million respirator masks, 280,000 pairs of nitrile gloves and 10,000 protective coveralls to help curtail the spread of the highly contagious virus.
- Matthew 25: Ministries: Working to assist local partner organizations in the U.S. who are serving at-risk populations; distributing desperately-needed supplies to nursing homes, assisted care facilities, and more.
- Mercy Corps: Responding in the U.S. and more than 15 other countries by providing resources for hygienic practices; helping small businesses take precautions for containment and supporting the development of business continuity plans; delivering emergency cash, support and online business mentoring.
- Partners In Health: Initiating safe testing, triage and isolation to protect patients, communities and staff in resource-poor, vulnerable countries around the world; providing dignified, high-quality care for patients; leveraging network of skilled health workers to conduct contact tracing; supporting government response in each care delivery site.
- PATH: Supporting surveillance measures by utilizing existing systems developed for Ebola and malaria; providing technical assistance to help emergency operations centers; developing data visualization dashboards and mapping tools that enable targeted response; partnering with the CDC to develop online COVID-19 case investigation.
- Project HOPE: Delivering lifesaving equipment to hospitals in the coronavirus outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China; gearing up to respond and protect health workers in at-risk countries; partnering with Brown University in Macedonia and Kosovo to develop and implement training for front line health workers to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections; working on plans to support undersupplied clinics in Colombia that need to screen and treat children and families arriving from Venezuela; working with health ministries to prepare and mobilize to save lives in places with fragile health care systems like Puerto Rico, Indonesia and Ethiopia.
- Save the Children: Delivered 36,000 face masks for health workers in Wuhan; training health teams in the U.S. and worldwide how to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the disease; supplying protective equipment and other supplies to front line health staff; protecting children and families that may be separated due to quarantine.
- UNICEF USA: Delivered a 6 metric ton shipment of respiratory masks and protective suits for health workers in Shanghai, China; leading globally on preventative actions with risk communication; delivering hygiene and medical kits to schools and health clinics around the world; monitoring the impact of the outbreak to support continuity of care, education and social services.
- WaterAid: Promoting hand washing; publicizing lack of clean water for 785 million or sanitation for 2.3 billion around the world.
- World Vision: Responding on the ground since the beginning of the outbreak; reaching at-risk communities with supplies in the U.S. and abroad; providing health training and supplies like face masks for health workers, and thermometers, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes for children and families.
We encourage you to help support response efforts for this emergency by learning more about the Coronavirus Outbreak Fund and how you can get involved. Corporations can also implement the fund as part of an employee engagement strategy.
We don’t have all of the answers surrounding COVID-19, nor can we see into the future. But with your help, and thanks to the incredible support of our Charity Alliance partners, we can work to prevent a worst-case scenario, mitigate consequences of a devastated market and alleviate the upheaval felt by all around the world.