New grants would provide boost for struggling S.C. nonprofits

South Carolina State House
South Carolina State House(WRDW)
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 12:47 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Victor Durrah Jr.'s nonprofit, Brothers Restoring Urban Hope (BRUH), is still recovering after canceling one of its big fundraisers earlier this year.

“We’ve just been hanging on in the nonprofit relm. Just waiting our turn. It’s definitely been a struggle,” Durrah said.

Applications opened this week for two state CARES Act grant programs that aim to offset some of the business impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The funds will help specifically small and minority businesses as well as nonprofits with any coronavirus-related impacts.

If approved, small and minority businesses can receive from $2,500 to $25,000. For nonprofits, the grants range from $2,500 to $50,000.

Durrah’s nonprofit helps connect mentors with at-risk youth. He said he’ll be applying for Nonprofit Relief Grant as soon as he can.

According to a survey of hundreds of South Carolina nonprofits done by TogetherSC and College of Charleston’s Riley Center for Livable Communities, about two-thirds of the nonprofits surveyed said they can only survive six more months without any additional funding. Durrah said, “Any help will be a big help.”

Home Works of America is another nonprofit in South Carolina. It helps fix up homes for seniors, veterans, and disabled people at no cost to them. Executive Director Joe Huggins said it’s seen some financial loss this year but said the staff isn’t worried about the decrease in the number of people they’ve helped so far this year. It has dropped dramatically compared to last year.

Huggins said they’ll be applying for a grant, as well, “Being able to take those dollars and put it towards construction material - that helps us do what we do. It’s hard to repair a home without plywood or shingles.”

According to the survey, some of the hardest-hit nonprofits deal with arts, music, and humanities. South Carolina Philharmonic said they are now starting to ramp up some socially distanced concerts to help bring in revenue.

Marketing and Communications Director Kristin Morris said, “We’ll also be live streaming those concerts. We want to cast a really wide net and meet people where they feel more comfortable.”

Even though the pandemic has hurt these nonprofits financially, they are not giving up. Durrah Jr said, “We’re just trying to stay innovative and keep our eyes and ears open for any opportunities.”

The deadline to apply for the grant is Nov. 1. For more information, click here.

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