Stories

St. David’s Foundation and Catchafire Deploy Virtual Operational Support to Assist Texas Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19


Published April 3, 2020


In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis facing Texas, St. David’s Foundation and Catchafire are collaborating to assist nonprofits with immediate operational and programmatic support, by enabling “remote access” to resources that have been made inaccessible due to nonprofit funding cuts and social distancing.

Leveraging the power of virtual skills-based volunteering, as enabled by the Catchafire platform, the custom online infrastructure is helping Texas nonprofits hold virtual fundraisers, rapidly shift staff to a remote work environment, and create HR policies to keep staff safe and healthy, among a broad set of activities that help maintain operational continuity. At the same time, nonprofits are able to transform their programs to a virtual environment, better understand the needs of their beneficiaries, and run tailored awareness campaigns to keep their communities informed and safe.

In addition to virtual volunteer services, participating nonprofits are receiving programmatic support from Catchafire’s team aimed at strengthening their internal operations. This includes weekly topical webinars, access to one-on-one consultations from trained Nonprofit Advisors, and access to Catchafire Nonprofits workspace on Slack – a community for nonprofits to share resources, exchange ideas, and support one another.

While grantmakers across the country and state have pooled millions in emergency funds to address COVID-19 needs, the majority of such funds are aimed at helping community constituents get access to basic necessities like food, shelter, and medical supplies and rightly so. In such a scenario though, nonprofits who were operating on razor thin budgets even in the pre-COVID environment are finding operational continuity even more challenging. Social distancing has further compounded the situation wherein human capital has also been rendered inaccessible.

 

 

“Now, more than ever, responding to nonprofits’ most urgent needs is critical as most organizations are having to shift how they do business and don’t have unrestricted funds to do so. We have already seen an increase in the number and types of projects posted, and we’re grateful to have launched this resource in Central & Rural Texas in late January 2020. This COVID-19 effort builds upon an ambitious partnership St. David’s Foundation and Catchafire signed late last year to democratize access to talent, and in the process, on-demand capacity building support for nonprofits across the state of Texas.” said Denise Herrera, Senior Capacity Building Officer at St. David’s Foundation.

Formally known as One Texas, the larger statewide initiative enables nonprofits to get access to a network of pro bono volunteers from across the country through Catchafire’s online platform, which is customized for Texas nonprofits in order to help build more sustainable organizations over a period of time, while quickly addressing time-sensitive needs.

“While the focus in this moment may be on crisis response and addressing immediate needs, it’s equally important to keep an eye on crisis recovery, community restoration, and long term nonprofit resilience which may take months, if not years to address. One Texas was designed to handle varying intensity and volume of needs, and with long term organizational sustainability at the forefront, something that we hope will help nonprofits navigate the entire crisis lifecycle and beyond,” said Ash Didwania, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Catchafire.

The One Texas infrastructure and now the integrated COVID-19 support is currently available to 250 nonprofits in Central and Rural Texas, and St.David’s Foundation and Catchafire are actively exploring ways to make it available to thousands of nonprofits in an expedited manner. As a result they are now formally inviting Texas-based grantmakers to be a part of the initiative by making the virtual infrastructure available to nonprofits in their respective communities.

 

To learn more or express interest in participation as a grantmaker, please reach out to Ash Didwania, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Catchafire at ash@catchafire.org or Denise Herrera, Senior Capacity Building Officer, St.David’s Foundation at dherrera@stdavidsfoundation.org.