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It could take nonprofits 2 years to recover from pandemic, national report says

As of January 2021, the nonprofit workforce remained down by nearly 958,000 jobs compared to February 2020 levels.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It may take two years for nonprofits to fully recover from the pandemic, according to a national report released by Johns Hopkins University this week.

As of January 2021, the nonprofit workforce remained down by nearly 958,000 jobs compared to February 2020 levels.

Louisville nonprofit Love Transformation Project founder Calvin Wooten told WHAS11 News he’s certainly felt the effects.

“We went from 100+ active (volunteers) to five solid volunteers,” he explained.

The Love Transformation Project has worked with Louisville’s homeless for about five years. This year, they opened a food truck to offer free meals at homeless camps.

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He said they’ve had to adjust fast because resources may be less, but the need has grown.

“It feels like you’re losing the ground that you worked so hard to gain,” he said.

The report predicts “it would take the sector 23.6 months—or nearly 2 years—to return to its pre-COVID level of employment.”

“I hope that prediction is wrong,” said Dare to Care’s Stan Siegwald. “Our community didn’t see that collapse of the nonprofit so maybe we’re starting off a little ahead of the game.”

Dare to Care is another Louisville nonprofit that’s been focused on feeding families for 50 years.

“We're right now distributing just over 20% more food than we did pre-pandemic,” he explained. Though they’ve lost about half of their volunteers, mostly due to social distancing and people isolating themselves, he said almost all of their partners have continued to serve meals.

“We’ve seen less than 5-percent of our partners close their doors,” he said. “Our non-profits have been resilient, they've been innovative.”

Both Siegwald and Wooten believe Louisville can power through this.

The report details a “slight recovery” in January, compared to December.

“It is our hope that, by providing a window into the dire state of the nonprofit workforce, the estimates of nonprofit employment developments reported here can shed light on the need to take special care to ensure that nonprofit organizations have access to the full suite of support available to other private employers,” the report reads.

Dare to Care and Love Transformation Project ask interested volunteers to reach out on their websites.

Read the full report here.

► Contact reporter Heather Fountaine at hfountaine@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Heather) and Facebook.

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