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Michigan Nonprofit Association

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Finally, support for small nonprofits that kept communities together during the pandemic

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Finally support

“Of the 23 (relief) programs that were aimed at helping businesses, only three of them were open to nonprofits," says Joan Gustafson, external affairs officer for MNA. “Even when they were eligible, that sometimes wasn’t clear, and the administration of the funds wasn’t ideal for the nonprofit sector.”

MNA decided to lobby for a state relief fund for nonprofits that would be funded with American Rescue Plan Act money. Their original ask was for $35 million, but the state legislature upped that to $50 million when they included the fund in the state budget for the 2023 fiscal year. The funds are a one-time infusion of cash, are aimed at small nonprofits with less than 15 employees with budgets of $1 million or less, and, most critically, are general operating funds.

Finally, support for small nonprofits that kept communities together during the pandemic


In March 2020, as the world shut down, nonprofits stepped up. As businesses closed – some forever – people lost jobs, and everyone struggled to find their new normal, the nonprofit sector distributed food, found masks and gloves and hand sanitizer when they were in short supply, and generally were holding things together for their communities in ways large and small.

That effort did not come without a cost. Few nonprofits were able to access bailout programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program. While many donors used the influx of cash from the government stimulus payments to increase their charitable giving, that money has dried up. Meanwhile, demand for services has continued to be high and is increasing as many of the government programs that helped get people through the worst of the pandemic, such as eviction protection and universal school meals, come to a close.

The Michigan Nonprofit Association was aware of the challenges its members were facing, and began to think about ways they could help meet them.

Read the full nonprofit journal article here.

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