Bailey, CEO of Idaho Nonprofit Center, wants fair distribution of ARPA
Even as someone who has spent their entire career in the charitable sector, it never occurred to me how much nonprofit organizations touch every aspect of our lives as Idahoans. Previously, I saw the non-profit sector as the mortar that bridges the gap between the bricks of our society. However, I think this analogy is backwards.
Nonprofit organizations are the very building blocks of large communities. In short, these organizations are essential to our way of life in Idaho.
Have your children or grandchildren been on a field trip that sparked their interest or passion for something they had never been exposed to before? It is a non-profit.
Have you noticed as you stroll through Idaho’s historic main streets in communities across the state that things seem coordinated at the merchant level? Is there a clear invitation to participate in the economic and cultural life of the community? It is a non-profit.
Perhaps you or a loved one have benefited from an organization that provides vital housing for a veteran with PTSD trying to rebuild their life. It is a non-profit.
Or maybe you walked or climbed an accessible trail and liked how well connected and well maintained they are with clear signage. It is a non-profit.
All of these organizations are fundamental to our way of life in Idaho. Today more than ever, we must recognize and value them as such. Not only are nonprofits a key driver of what makes our local communities great places to live, but they are also a huge economic driver in our state. The sector directly provides jobs and wages to more than 65,000 Idaho residents (about 10% of Idaho’s private sector workforce), and about $ 2.25 billion in annual wages. are paid by non-profit organizations.
So why is all of this so important right now? Nonprofits have been on the front lines, navigating the pandemic. We have a historic opportunity to build systems and services in our communities across the state that ensure a better future for every Idahoan.
The American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) will inject more than $ 5 billion into communities across our state. Part of this funding – Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds – will be allocated at the discretion of local city and county governments. It is crucial that nonprofits in every region have equitable access to these funds to ensure that organizations across the state can continue to address housing shortage, food insecurity, child care. , job training, mental health and more.
Please ask your local elected officials to listen to the needs of organizations that continue to serve your communities. This is a unique opportunity to enhance the exemplary work of the non-profit organizations and your neighbors behind this work, building the best possible future for our families and friends.
Kevin Bailey is the CEO of the Idaho Nonprofit Center, a position he has held since July. The Idaho Nonprofit Center strengthens the more than 6,000 registered nonprofit charities in our state through training, advocacy and collaboration.