Local non-profits experiencing financial struggles because of COVID-19 pandemic

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Many non-profit organizations in our area lean heavily on fundraisers and big events to keep their finances going.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced two of them to change their plans in ways they hoped wouldn’t happen.

“Each year, New Horizons holds two major fundraisers, and one of them was supposed to be on March 20th, Victory over Violence,” New Horizons development director Patty Nuttleman said.

Nuttleman says she tried to move the fundraiser later this month with up to 200 people in attendance, but the Safer at Home order took that away.

“I think we were well on track to probably raise $30,000-$50,000,” Nuttleman said. “I was very crestfallen because I had put a lot of effort into that.”

The auction is still taking place, but it will be done virtually, and some items from the auction that was supposed to take place last month will still be sold.

“Which is good because we’ll still be able to hopefully raise some money,” Nuttleman said. “But we probably are not going to come near what we would’ve done to hold the event.”

Leaders at English Lutheran Church will be holding Easter Sunday services through a live stream.

“The only people that’ll be here on Easter Sunday are the worship leaders, musicians and those involved with the production,” Pastor Mark Solyst said.

Solyst says if it weren’t for the pandemic, the church’s early morning Easter mass would’ve brought in 450 people.

“It is forcing the church to ask ‘how do you do church?,'” Solyst said. “And maybe there are some things that we’re doing now that are going to be continued.”

Solyst understands there is a possibility the church could be in trouble financially, but remains optimistic.

“About half of our income, a little less. comes through electronic transfer,” Solyst said. “So although, you can’t sustain a church on that, at least we’re not in a situation where we have no income.”

It will take some time before some normalcy returns, but these non-profits can’t keep making adjustments forever.

“We do have a second (fundraiser) that’ll be coming up in August, hopefully,” Nuttleman said.

“God has a way of working things out,” Solyst said. “And we’ll see what happens.”

Nuttleman says New Horizons’ online auction will take place next Friday through Sunday.

If you’re interested in taking part in the auction, just visit their website, www.nhagainstabuse.org.