Federal funding for COVID relief provides significant opportunities for afterschool and summer programs.
American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides billions of dollars to local school districts and state education agencies to support students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being, including providing students with comprehensive afterschool and summer programs. Learn more about these funds and how they are flowing into your state. Check out examples of states using COVID relief funds to partner with afterschool and summer learning programs, and then use our toolkit to reach out to your school districts and local education leaders.
In addition, a number of bills passed before ARP provide potential funding sources. Learn more about these sources and how programs have tapped them in our Policy & Regulations section.
Request Flexibility from Existing Funders
Many foundations have signed onto pledges to loosen restrictions on existing grants, make new grants as unrestricted as possible, reduce reporting requirements, and otherwise work to support COVID-19 response efforts in local communities. The Council of Foundations maintains a growing list of funders that have signed this pledge: https://www.cof.org/news/call-action-philanthropys-commitment-during-covid-19. If you haven't already, reach out to your funders to see if there are ways they can better support your organization. Some questions to consider asking:
- Is it possible to convert program funds to unrestricted funds to allow for general operations?
- How can I use existing funds to continue to pay my staff?
- Can we transition funds to help pay for infrastructure to facilitate virtual learning?
- Can we postpone deliverable or reporting requirements during this time?
Fiscal Management/Crisis Tools
During times of crisis, the fiscal outlook of an organization can change abruptly.
To assist organizations in planning for their financial sustainability, the Overdeck Family Foundation, in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance and Grafe Consulting, produced a financial planning tool to assist nonprofit leaders with scenario planning during these uncertain times. The workbook, an Excel template, allows afterschool organizations to forecast revenue, expenses, and cash, and to create multiple scenarios to evaluate financial sustainability in a fast-changing environment. Here's a brief guide on how to use the template.
The Wallace Foundation has partnered with Fiscal Management Associates, a national capacity-building firm that advises nonprofits on strategic financial management, to help nonprofits assess their fiscal situation and make adjustments.
- Read this blog from Fiscal Management Associates CEO Hilda Polanco, Managing Nonprofit Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis (posted 3/25/20)
- Strongnonprofits.org – visit for free guidance on nonprofit financial management, including tools on creating a revised program budget, developing dashboards and targets for assessing health in an ongoing manner, and a cost analysis toolkit.
Stories from the Field
The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County in Wisconsin, in partnership with the United Way and community leaders, raised more than $100,000 via an online donation drive in less than 10 hours to support families affected by COVID-19 in their community. Donations will go toward medical supplies, meals for children who would otherwise get them at school, to local shelters, college students in need of temporary housing and meals, and to senior citizens who may need meals, transportation and medical assistance.
In a video from the beginning of the pandemic, Horton's Kids leadership team discuss the financial challenges they are facing during COVID-19 closures and how they are pivoting to bring in new public and private funding and using new flexible guidelines to continue to serve their community impactfully.