During time of COVID, many business leaders are stepping up to provide help


Community and charitable organizations provide a wide range of services to those who need them most. For this reason, these organizations are always in need of support.


For many of them, that need has been greatly amplified since March, when the COVID pandemic hit, putting countless people out of work, taking children out of their schools (where many receive nutritional free lunches) and placing numerous families in positions in which they desperately need help.


In Chicago, an organization called Cradles to Crayons Chicago is filling 50,000 backpacks with school supplies for underserved children in the area. In Atlanta, Hands On Atlanta is hard at work addressing hunger and other crucial needs. And across North America, food banks and other organizations are distributing goods to people waiting in long lines, while also social distancing.


According to the website charitynavigator.org, “A number of highly-rated charities have created funds to support communities around the world affected by the outbreak. The site lists many of those charities and their needs.


Fortunately, on the local level, many business leaders are stepping up to help charitable and community organizations that deliver much-needed services. Chicago wealth manager Thomas Kane is among them. A philanthropist who grew up watching his own parents support such organizations, he generously donates to a number or organizations, including several that embody and reflect his Jewish faith.


He’s one of countless business leaders who are working with local charities to meet needs. A few months ago, BOK Financial Arizona donated $50,000 to COVID relief efforts undertaken by the nonprofit Foundation for Senior Living, which serves seniors and adults with disabilities. When the quarantine order was initiated, the organization shifted a number of its programs to at-home instead of at a senior center or adult health center. As a result, its expenses went up by at least 25 percent.


“When we heard the need for FSL’s programs had dramatically increased, we wanted to step in and help,” said Dave Ralston, BOK Financial’s Arizona Market CEO. “They have seen a 56 percent increase in meals delivered to Arizona homebound seniors. We’re proud to partner with FSL to help seniors get access to food and necessities.”


As the COVID crisis has extended into months at this point, business leaders have continued to support local social service organizations and charities in efforts to help those who depend on what they offer. Virtually every organization expresses the need for assistance and all are appreciative of how the business community has been offering help.


If you’re a business leader and you’d like to help your community during the current crisis, it will be helpful to identify where needs exist. “Small, local charities are often the most vulnerable during times of crisis, as they have less access to support and limited capacity to fundraise, in comparison to their larger, international peers, writes Jasmine Awad.


There are many ways you can help organizations, and you can start doing them immediately. They include providing unrestricted funding, which helps organizations use the money when and where it’s needed; developing long-term relationships with the organizations you support or offering in-kind support. If your company is one that produces a product or delivers a service that will benefit a local charity, consider getting involved on that level as well.