As stores, companies, foundations, schools, colleges, and other organizations close up and go remote due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the staff of direct service nonprofit organizations on the front lines — often serving the most vulnerable and marginalized among us — don’t have that option. They can’t go remote and are instead getting up each day and doing their work in a context they never imagined, amid challenges they couldn’t foresee.

“We’re going to go to work because we think of ourselves as first responders,” Cathy Moore, executive director of Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS) in Houston, Texas, told me over the phone this weekend. “I am tired, and all of the staff is tired,” she admitted, only after I pressed her on how everyone was holding up. “It’s like [Hurricane] Harvey and the disaster response again.” But, she added, “we won’t shut down unless we really have to.”

Now is the time for foundations and individual donors to step up and support organizations like ECHOS. Or, if they’re already supporting them, to pick up the phone and ask how else they can help.

So, what can we do? We can help those who are working most directly with and for those populations.

Now is the time. To give. To volunteer. To ask what can be done to support the organizations like ECHOS that exist in every community and are helping the most vulnerable among us.

Read the full article about supporting nonprofits by Phil Buchanan at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.