EUGENE, Ore. — The government shutdown is front and center right now, but there are agencies in our community who are always struggling to keep out of the red.
Local nonprofits say that with the cuts at the federal, state and even local levels, keeping their heads above water and the organizations alive can be tough. And unless they can find other sources of revenue, the community could be saying goodbye to many of the services they provide.
The life of a nonprofit isn’t an easy one.
“The world of nonprofit actually has embedded in it a level of continuing anxiety,” said Chuck Gerard, White Bird Clinic Coordinator.
HIV Alliance in Eugene is experiencing that stress especially now.
“We have a budget projecting to mid-December, and unless we can figure out how to go forward, the whole program is in jeopardy,” said Dian Lang, HIV Alliance Director.
The organization provides support to people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as working to prevent new infections, but its work extends to other groups like Volunteers in Medicine and Willamette Family.
“Without the help and collaboration of these other agencies, our clients couldn’t get forwarded on for other health needs,” said Deleesa Meashintubby, Volunteers in Medicine Executive Director.
“For our services to be effective, we work with every one of the providers at this table and others in the community. This is absolutely an essential partnership that we all have,” said Susie Dey, Willamette Family Women Services Director.
And while some argue they don’t benefit from the work these groups do, the results are there in what isn’t seen.
“As a total community, I think we prevent, we prevent a lot of catastrophes, a lot of illness. We prevent a lot of people being on the street just because of the interventions we’re able to do,” said Steven Marks, Volunteers in Medicine Board Chair.
So at this point, places like the White Bird Clinic are taking anything they can get–money, time, donations of clothing or household items.
“If you don’t have any of that, you send us good wishes and your support, and you tell people what we’re doing and how valuable it is and that in itself is a help to us,” Gerard said.
Many say the voices are just as important, letting them and the rest of the community know that their services are worth fighting for.