Nonprofit wish list 2020: How to help local organizations through COVID-19

Nonprofits organize land, monetary, human, economic resources, and more to make lasting improvements on the community’s wellbeing. Now, many local nonprofit organizations are being stretched thin because of funding losses due to cancelled fundraisers and other impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amanda Schafer, executive director of the Mount Pleasant Area Community Foundation, says the pandemic has opened up opportunities for nonprofits to innovate and many of them have; however, this season is a time to also be innovative about how to give back.

“I think one of the things the [Mount Pleasant Area Community] Foundation is encouraging people to do is to think of others in a different way because of the pandemic so we can mitigate the spread of the virus,” she says. “This is just as important this giving season as giving time or treasure.”

Schafer adds that for those who are able to financially give this year, the CARES Act allows for a charitable deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made in 2020. While previously charitable contributions could only be deducted if a taxpayer itemized their deductions, taxpayers who don’t itemize may also take advantage of this.

If you’re looking for ways to help nonprofits in the community this holiday season, here are the wish lists of five – but not nearly all - local nonprofits who need help. To learn what you can do to help other nonprofits, reach out to them – most are happy to tell you what they need!

Humane Animal Treatment Society

Mission statement: to empower our community to support the compassionate treatment of all animals.

  1. Canned food for cats and kittens.
  2. Canned food for dogs and puppies.
  3. KMR Kitten Milk; both cans and powder.
  4. Paper Towel.
  5. Disinfecting wipes.

Monetary donations are also welcome.

As Isabella County’s sole nonprofit animal welfare organization, the Humane Animal Treatment Society shelters and provides care for almost 1000 animals every year. Its health clinic can be accessed by any mid-Michigan pet owner and provides low cost options for spaying and neutering.

Jeffrey Humble, marketing and media coordinator for the Isabella County Humane Animal Treatment Society, says this year has seen a $50,000 drop in public donations because the insurgence of Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the organization’s annual HATS Gala.

When it comes to adopting pets from the shelter, Humble says Covid-19 has affected that process, too.

“Since the lockdown, we have moved to a system where adoptions occur by appointment only. That way we are able to practice social distancing and properly clean our facility,” Humble says. “In terms of our volunteers, we have had to dramatically decrease the number we usually work with due to COVID. Otherwise we have been operating as normal, while observing CDC guidelines.”

Donation information and a more thorough wish list can be found at

Big Brothers Big Sisters

  1. Big brother/big sister volunteers
  2. Office supplies (copy paper, envelopes, stamps)
  3. Volunteers to help with teaching classes on subjects they enjoy like crafts or cooking
  4. Office chairs/a two drawer file cabinet in good used condition
  5. A scanner compatible with Windows 10

Monetary donations are also welcome.

Mission statement: to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

Mid-Michigan Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director Carol Gage has been working with the agency for 22 years and says fundraising efforts for the organization this year have been greatly affected by the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 crisis has severely impacted our ability to fundraise, as many of our fundraisers are large gatherings such as Bowl for Kids’ Sake, live auctions, and more,” Gage says. “The fundraisers make up a third of our budget.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring-based organization, where potential mentors are screened and assigned a child to work alongside. Currently, all interactions and events are virtual, like the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ spelling bees, scavenger hunts, and online safety trainings.

Donations may be made through or by mailing a check to 104 W. Fifth St., Clare, MI 48617.

Isabella County Child Advocacy Center

Mission statement: The Isabella County Child Advocacy Center is committed to providing a safe and child friendly environment that supports families throughout the child abuse investigation process, guided by the vision to create a community free of childhood sexual and physical abuse and neglect.

Isabella County Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Meg Schubert says the effects of Covid-19 on children include disruption of routine and loss of access to child advocates in the lives of many children, referencing reports from specialists at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.

The Isabella County Child Advocacy Center had to cancel its annual Zoo in the Park event due to COVID-19, the donations from which make up about 40% of the organization’s yearly proceeds. “The combination of these conditions creates a perfect storm and will inevitably lead to substantial increases in cases of child abuse and neglect nationwide,” Schubert says. “As a result, the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center has been conducting record numbers of forensic interviews in cases of suspected child abuse.”


  1. Paper towel
  2. Disinfectant spray
  3. Multipurpose cleaning spray
  4. Toilet paper
  5. Other cleaning supplies

Monetary donations are also welcome.

Schubert also says financial hardship has come upon the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center since the onset of Covid-19 because the organization’s annual Zoo in the Park event had to be cancelled. The donations from the event make up about 40% of the organization’s yearly proceeds.

“Without the organization’s ability to generate funds with the Zoo in the Park Event or other fundraising events, the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center has been facing significant financial hardship and has been required to adapt to the fragile economic climate,” Schubert says.

Donation information can be found at People may also donate through their Amazon purchases by accessing Amazon Smile and searching for the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center when choosing a beneficiary.

Mid Michigan Community Action

Mission statement: Mid Michigan Community Action guides local residents on the path to self-sufficiency through empowerment, education and community enrichment.


Monetary donations are the most pressing item on Mid Michigan Community Action’s wishlist this year.

Mid Michigan Community Action Operations Director Mark Polega says CARES funds have helped the organization provide more COVID-19 related assistance this year and have even helped expand programs aimed at helping local households recover financially.

“We transitioned to offering services remotely and employees teleworking quickly at the end of March and have largely maintained that since,” Polega says. “There has certainly been an adjustment period for our staff and customers, but we were able to maintain operation of all our services.”

Mid Michigan Community Action currently operates a commodity food delivery service in Isabella County and its primary service areas are surrounding counties including Bay, Clare, Midland, and Gladwin.

Monetary donations may be made to this organization through its website at

EightCAP, Inc.

Mission statement: EightCAP, Inc, improves our community by partnering with private, governmental, and community organizations to deliver programs to low-income residents that alleviate the local causes of poverty and its effects.


Monetary donations are the most pressing item on EightCAP, Inc.’s wishlist this year.

EightCAP President John Van Nieuwenhuyzen voices a determined but concerned outlook on the future of nonprofit work in the dawn of COVID-19. Seeing the destruction COVID-19 caused in places like Detroit and the following improvements seen in the city’s health, Van Nieuwenhuyzen says the early days of the pandemic struck him with fear.

“While we have the necessary funding, we must also place workers in risky situations and are challenged to find adequate housing and provide what could be one of the biggest effects of this crisis – connectiblity,” Van Nieuwenhuyzen says. “Some of our funds are being used to remove the digital divide – removing barriers and enhancing services to our less-than-fortunate residents in this time of emergency needs. We remain ever concerned about the supply lines: food, drugs, medicine, and energy are a grave concern.”

Monetary donations may be made through the organization’s website at

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