This article addresses the grim reality charities are facing: Covid-19 could mean extinction for many charities Opinion by John MacIntosh, CNN.
We are sharing this letter written by Saul Weisberg, North Cascades Institute. We encourage you to take action!
Dear Friends and colleagues,
The impact of COVID-19 on the field of residential environmental education is profound. The rapid rate of school cancellations will have drastic financial implications for our friends at North Cascades Institute, their colleagues and all of their survival.
As you read this, our leaders in the nation’s capital are in the process of writing funding bills – part of a one trillion dollar bailout – to support citizens, workers, small businesses and corporations.This funding should include nonprofit businesses like North Cascades Institute and our peers like Islandwood, NatureBridge, Great Smoky Mountains Institute, Yellowstone Forever and many more.
Now is the time to share the story of the impact on the field of residential Environmental Education.
We have very limited time! In Washington State, we have a collective loss of $3M of revenue that we are refunding to public schools. Nationally, that number is estimated at $65M of lost revenue assuming cancellation of all spring programs.
This is part of the essential backstory of the challenges the nonprofit world is facing right now. This is why NCI has worked hard to build up reserves, and why we’re concerned as our reserves shrink because of the loss of earned income coupled with the drop in the value of our reserves due to the stock market meltdown.
Please CUT, PASTE and EMAIL the letter below (Environmental Education Centers to return up to $65M to Public Schools) to your Senators and your local Representatives TODAY. (how to find your reps). Please share with your colleagues and ask them to reach out to Congress now.
This legislation is being written right now. All we need is a marker in the bills under consideration to include nonprofit education groups that work to get kids outside. The details will come later.
In solidarity, thank you,
|Herrera Beutler, Jaime
March 20, 2020
Environmental Education Centers to return up to $65M to Public Schools
Each year, over 400 residential Environmental Education programs across all 50 states collectively bring 1.5 million students outside each year! Our programs augment the learning that occurs in the classroom, and connect students to the amazing and awe-inspiring natural areas and parks in our country.
We write today to share how Covid-19 is impacting us, believing that perhaps this story is one that you’ve not yet heard — and that you may be able to help. We hope it may influence how you think about supporting the citizens, workers, businesses, families, and nonprofits across our country.
As schools closed or consider closing, they have or will cancel their overnight programs with us – and many plan to or already have requested refunds. The language in our contracts with schools vary, yet many have clear language about what happens with deposits and cancellations. Despite that, public schools have been clear about their expectations of full refunds. Our desire to not alienate our school partners has resulted in us returning deposits and payments, or at best, rolling them over to next spring. And, our programs have significant upfront expenses that have already incurred.
In either case, the public school system’s ledger looks better, and the nonprofit’s looks worse, significantly worse.
Collectively, we estimate that more 6000 public schools have canceled programs, and $65M of nonprofit revenue is now back to our public school systems. The result? We’re laying off our educators, terminating positions, reducing work hours as our sites prepare to hibernate for the foreseeable coronavirus “winter.”
The organizations that form the field of environmental education are in financial freefall, and it’s not clear that we will survive to partner with schools again as things return to normal.
We ask you, today, as you do the important work of imagining how congress can best provide an economic backstop during this crisis to please consider including the nonprofits that support and partner with our public schools. Specifically, we are interested in
- Find a Pathway – enable both schools and the non-profit environmental education programs to prosper,
- Nonprofits considered part of Service Industry – If there are relief bills for the hospitality/hotel industry, we would strongly advocate that non-profits like ours be included.
Experiences in our youth shape our choices as adults. Help us continue to connect our young people to the experiences in the outdoors.
Your work or NCI
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.