Over the past two — difficult — years, nonprofits have been working overtime to help put dinner on the table, ensure children have winter coats and help families pay rent. Organizations around the state still have waiting lists to serve people with these vital, immediate needs.
Idaho prides itself on private sector solutions and small government; now is the time for local cities, counties and the state to let nonprofits lead. Specifically, we have the opportunity to work together through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which has, in part, already infused a portion of the over $5 billion allocated to the state of Idaho for relief and recovery efforts.
It’s still not clear what plans the local governments have for this critical resource. Each locality has authority on how and when to spend their respective allocations — to date, it is extremely difficult to see whether any significant funds have been distributed to nonprofits on the front lines. But the time is now, as previous relief funds supporting expanded nonprofit capacity expired at the end of 2021.
Idaho’s nonprofits have built effective and efficient coalitions and public-private partnerships across nearly every human service issue area — from domestic violence to housing to child care. An infusion of federal dollars could prop up the programs that governments, philanthropists and nonprofits have had in place for years to address our communities’ biggest challenges.
Call on your elected officials to distribute ARPA funding quickly in 2022 to nonprofits that house, shelter, feed, provide care and other essentials that make our communities function.
Please let your local city and county governments know you are paying attention and that nonprofits are ready to continue leading. With the flip of the proverbial funding switch, we can let the problem solvers — our local nonprofits — keep doing what they do best.
— By Kevin Bailey is the CEO of the Idaho Nonprofit Center.
This letter has been co-signed by 22 nonprofit executives from across Idaho, including Steve Burns, Idaho Community Foundation; David Duro, Idaho State Alliance of YMCAs; Beth Oppenheimer, Idaho AEYC; Evie Scrivner, Community Action Partnerhip Assn. of Idaho; Mark Tucker, United Way of N. Idaho; Christine Wiersema, United Way of Idaho Falls; Bill Maikranz, United Way of South Central Idaho; Molly Olson, United Way of SE Idaho; Shantay Bloxham, SE Idaho Community Action Agency; Ann Johnson, Orchard Ridge Senior Living; Kelli Parker, Economic Opportunity by Jannus; Bud Compher, NeighborWorks Boise; Mark Dahlquist, NeighborWorks Pocatello; Janessa Chastain, Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity; Dave Doran, SE Idaho Council of Governments; Lori Fascilla, Giraffe Laugh; Bea Black, WCA; Vanessa Moos, Children’s Village; Tricia Swartling, The Advocates; Heidi Rogers, NCCE; Tim Adams, Community Foundation of the Teton Valley; Ali Rabe, Jesse Tree