In today’s economy, local nonprofits need all the help we can get. Inflation is high, businesses are struggling to hire and economic output still hasn’t returned to “normal” – far from it. And everywhere, people are in need.

Of course, the private sector understands the current economic crisis firsthand. With our state’s jobless claims still in the thousands, the labor market is filled with employers that can’t find talent while struggling to maintain operations. In the Portland area, hiring signs are everywhere. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins are even advocating for more seasonal worker visas, calling on the Biden administration to help businesses maintain their workforce.

When the business community fails to reach its potential, there inevitably is a negative trickle-down effect on the nonprofit sector. Local nonprofit organizations like ours rely on businesses large and small to partner with us to serve the community. According to national fundraising data, corporations gave more than $20 billion to nonprofits in 2019.

The continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic – compounded by a supply-chain crisis and now the war in Ukraine – has made matters worse for all of us. According to the Maine Association of Nonprofits, more than three-quarters of nonprofits report increased demand for their services coupled with escalating expenses since the onset of the pandemic. While $20 billion in corporate giving is substantial, in reality, it accounts for only 0.9% of nonprofit funding. Furthermore, individual and corporate donations have dipped for many nonprofits since March 2020, making it all the more difficult to cover expenses and meet rising demand.

Nonprofits need business support if we are going to meet the challenges of the underserved and work to transform our communities. Nonprofit leaders understand that philanthropy isn’t necessarily a top priority for companies focused on other areas. But, for those interested in working for the common good, financial support for nonprofit partners must become and remain a top priority. Philanthropy goes hand in hand with environmental, social and governance mission statements, which are overwhelmingly popular among Americans.

Nonprofits like Furniture Friends, which provides donated furniture to people in need throughout Greater Portland, make it easier for everyday people to survive and thrive. We turn houses into homes, rebuilding lives in the process. In the 10 years since our founding, we have provided essential furniture to more than 10,000 people (including over 4,000 children). That’s 10,000 people who now have beds to sleep on, tables to eat their meals from and places to do their homework or work remotely.


Every dollar donated to Furniture Friends ends up helping those in need feel safe and stable at home. It helps people move forward in their lives with the goal of becoming contributing members of our communities and to the state economy. With support from numerous business partners and the wider community, we hope to continue our service – one that’s not replicated by any other organization or governmental agency in southern Maine.

Two years into the pandemic, local nonprofits have pivoted and pivoted some more. Despite the ongoing challenges, we are more energized than ever before. There is a newfound optimism among staff, volunteers and clients that 2022 will be better than last year or the year before. But we need businesses to stand by us, turning that hope and optimism into real, tangible action.

Please help us, so we can help others. Maine’s economy depends on it.

Jenn McAdoo is the executive director of Furniture Friends, based in Westbrook.

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