COVID-19 causing problems for non-profits

Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 7:14 PM CDT
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The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on two local organization that provide kids and families in the Chippewa Valley with resources to succeed.

Some organizations have already postponed or canceled large fundraising events due to the Coronavirus. Now, those organizations are scrambling to make up for lost time and money. Wesley Escondo is the CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. For him, the postponement of their annual "Bowl for Kids' Sake" event has been a nightmare.

“That is a game-changer for us because that is a six city, ten night event that raises, gosh, the gross revenue on that is over $220,000,” Escondo said. “That is 30% of our annual operating budget.”

The Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley is also looking for ways to make up for nearly $200,000 from the annual “Youth of the Year” gala that has been postponed.

“That was relying on about $140,000 worth of support. That is a lot of staff time for kids,” said Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley CEO, Ann Kaiser. “It Is a day by day, 'how are we going to fund operations, how are we going to keep great staff.'”

Both organizations said the hardest part of dealing with the Coronavirus, is finding ways to engage their members

“We are doing a lot of virtual programming,” Kaiser said. “We keep in touch with our families via Facebook.”

“Kids aren't going to remember what the markets were like,” Escondo said. “But, they will remember the things they engaged in or the lack of things they engaged in when they were isolated in their homes.”

Escondo and Kaiser said they are working to reschedule the fundraising events for later in the year. “Bowl for Kids' Sake” is slated to take place in June, while the youth of the year gala has not yet been determined.

“Not even a global pandemic can ruin youth mentoring in Northwestern Wisconsin,” Escondo said. “That's not going to happen.”

For information about Big Brothers, Big Sisters,

For information on the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley,