We must help our neighbors in need
Our bottom line recommendation for Greenville County’s Coronavirus Relief Funds:
- $20 million of the $91 million to support our neighbors in need – assistance with rent and mortgage payments, food, health care, child care, and more
- Include nonprofits in support packages for business, just like EIDL and PPP loans have done
- Use a transparent process for decision making
As members of GPP know, we’ve worked closely with the NonProfit Alliance and United Way since the COVID crisis began to help nonprofits apply for PPP and EIDL, understand FMLA, the CARES Act, and much more. GPP members and individual donors have contributed to the United Way of Greenville County’s COVID relief fund, giving more than $1.1 million for community needs, and GPP members have contributed directly to nonprofits and to shared funds.
Since mid-April, we’ve reported to you about the Coronavirus Relief Funds when the county received $91 million as a part of the CARES Act intended to help localities with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. We shared that every state received funding (South Carolina received $1.9 billion) and localities with 500,000 or more residents also received funding. You can see a full list of the funding to states and localities here. Greenville County was the only locality in our state to receive this direct support.
Each locality is developing plans and has begun rolling out funds of how to support their communities’ during the pandemic. Examples include:
Ramsey County, MN, $96 million – $26M individual financial assistance, $15M workforce assistance, $15M small business assistance
Lee County, FL, $134 million – $22M individual financial assistance, $28M for business and nonprofit relaunch and PPE, $4.5M for child care, $3M for food security
DeKalb County, GA, $125 million – most of the funds are oriented to health and human services, including mobile markets, mental health care, and health care for those with chronic conditions. The county is also holding half of the funds for a second phase.
Montgomery County, TX, $106 million – Funding for rental and mortgage assistance
Orange County, FL, $243 million – 30% to social services and community needs, 30% to small business, 20% to public safety and health, 10% for other government expenses, and 10% for contingencies
Because Greenville County has not yet announced its plans or held a public workshop on its plans, GPP along with the NonProfit Alliance and United Way of Greenville County drafted a plan to offer as recommendation to the county. This plan, called OPEN for Business, offers four tracks to help get folks back to work safely and support those in need. We are pleased that the Greenville Chamber championed a letter with dozens of partners who signed on to this plan.
The plan recommends ways to help small business reopen and recover from COVID, but there are several points within the plan that are especially important to GPP and NPA members. Regardless of what Greenville County eventually develops, we believe the following elements should be included:
- Greenville County residents are struggling to afford food, housing expenses and more because of COVID-related layoffs and work reductions. They are struggling to find and pay for childcare as they continue essential work or get back on the job. Since March 14th, 63,599 people have lost their jobs – that’s a quarter of our labor force. We believe $20 million of the Coronavirus Relief Funds should be used to help our neighbors in need.
- Greenville County’s nonprofits are on the front lines helping these residents. They are also vital small businesses – not-for-profit businesses – who are employers and economic engines. Nonprofits must be included in any support package for the business community.
We urge Greenville County Council to support our neighbors who are struggling during this time, as well as the nonprofits that serve them.
In addition, we urge the county to use a transparent process, as other counties have done, to evaluate options and make decisions regarding the use of these significant funds. We are here to help the county in carrying out this transparent process and are stepping up as those most connected to community needs to recommend the OPEN for Business Plan.
Because the funds have been in hand at Greenville County since mid-April, we anticipate that we will hear a presentation on plans shortly. We will keep you informed as the work unfolds so you can be engaged in the process. We know that many nonprofit organizations – staff and volunteers – along with GPP members have called county council members to share their thoughts. You can do the same! Council members’ contact information is here. Let council members know how COVID has impact your organization or those that you fund and the people our nonprofits serve!