In the past few months, the news outlets have been reporting the impact the pandemic is having on our economy. In our lives. Businesses, of all sizes, have had to restructure their business model to stay solvent; some have shifted to working remotely — when possible; others just closed. Restaurants have had to close their indoor dining and offer only takeout in an effort to stay in the black. Overnight, thousands of people found themselves unemployed because of the shutdown.
Since March, all of our lives have been upended and collectively we are looking for signs of normalcy. As of August 31, Miami-Dade moved to Phase 2 of the reopening plan. With restrictions, more establishments are opening and more people are returning to work. Restaurants can welcome patrons to dine indoors. If we all do our part, we can continue on the road to what will be our new normal.
But what have you heard about the charitable nonprofits; how are they surviving during these unprecedented times? The news media have not reported on how these organizations are weathering the pandemic. These essential organizations rely on the generosity of corporations and their supporters to provide the services and resources that define them. How are they holding up when so many corporations have had to scale back or halt their philanthropic programs? Where are they getting the much-needed funds to continue providing their services and render aid when large, in-person fundraising events are not possible for now?
Did you know that there are over 9,000, between private foundations and public, charities in Miami-Dade alone of varying sizes and name recognition? These charitable organizations give back to their communities by providing and filling a need with their services. They also contribute to the financial wellbeing of their communities by paying functional expenses and other resource programs necessary to advance the organization. It is the small charitable nonprofits that are being impacted the hardest.
To bring this 9,000 number to a relatable level, I’ll share with you an example of a small local foundation The Gloria M. Silverio Foundation, 501 (c)3, A Safe Haven for Newborns. As a volunteer for the past ten years, I see how Nick Silverio, the founder, works to make sure the Foundation is there for anyone who needs their services — 24/7; 365 days, reaching all 67 Florida counties.
Safe Haven was created 20-years ago in response to the Safe Haven Law that Florida had passed to fill the void. There was no program in place where these young, scared girls could turn to for help prior to giving birth. And, in a state of panic and believing they have no other recourse, would abandon their newborn in unsafe places; more often than not, culminating in the infant’s demise. Safe Haven’s mission is to assist pregnant girls and women in crisis and to save the newborn from the dangers of abandonment. They do this through education, prevention, and community involvement. More often than not, Safe Haven is the only lifeline these young girls have.
We don’t hear about the struggles these charitable organizations experience during this pandemic to fund the many programs they offer being mentioned in the press. But, just like any other business they need to meet their financial responsibilities. Safe Haven’s primary source of garnering funds comes from the three annual events they host. All three had to be postponed this year — the 5K walk/run, the golf tournament, and the gala. Among these three events, and the generosity of the sponsors and supporters, Safe Haven gathers the funds to provide the expectant mothers with the much needed support to make the decision that is right for her and her unborn child. Safe Haven has partnered with local agencies across the state to refer the expectant mother for services. Some of the resource partners include health related agencies, temporary shelters, counseling, parenting, adoption, and confidentially placing a newborn at a safe haven location.
To date, Safe Haven has welcomed 327 newborns who are now living in loving homes and reaching for their dreams. Five of those newborns were born between March and August — during the pandemic. You see, Nick didn’t close the office or stopped going, he continued working, even harder, to make sure that if Safe Haven’s services were needed they were there. A life depended on them being opened.
So why am I telling you all this? Simple. Yes, we need to support our local restaurants, shops, and businesses but let’s not forget our local charities. I spoke to you about the one that is close to my heart. I am sure that you have one; or two. Don’t forget them they need our help now more then before. There are many ways that we can help our favorite charity. The first that comes to mind is a monetary donation. But there are other ways, spread the word on your social media channels, give an in-kind donation, and the most valuable of all — your time. Find a charity that resonates with you and get involved. You’ll get more back then the time you give.
With Safe Haven, all monies donated are used to fund the various programs it offers. The Foundation has only one salaried employee the rest of us are all volunteers, including Nick.
If you would like to learn more about A Safe Haven for Newborns, please visit them at www.asafehavenfornewborns.com. Or, reach out to me at Info@MiamiWritingServices.com.