CHARLESTON — In the midst of the COVID-19 response, West Virginia nonprofits are on the front lines and grappling with growing needs and declining revenue. To ensure that West Virginia’s citizens, companies, and foundations are able to assist nonprofits, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and Philanthropy West Virginia President and CEO Paul D. Daugherty have announced a partnership to:
1) Encourage support of nonprofits,
2) Ensure that charitable support goes to credible nonprofits, and
3) Share a list of West Virginia relief, response, and emergency funds.
“During the 2016 flood, West Virginia learned a great deal about statewide emergency response and most importantly the value and impact of all size nonprofits in our state. As we are in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis, we encourage citizens to support their favorite charities, and do their research to prevent scams from taking valuable dollars away from worthy organizations,” said Daugherty
Philanthropy West Virginia is the state’s leadership network for philanthropy serving grant-making private, family, and community foundations, corporations, private donors, and other funders.
As the state’s non-profit and charitable organization registry official, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and his staff advocate for supporting nonprofits as well as doing your homework.
“We are committed to accountability and best practices by nonprofits so that our citizen’s generous donations are put to the best use in our communities,” Warner said. “Our Charities Division works hard to ensure the general public knows who, what, and where they are donating to help so many citizens and communities hurting during these uncertain times.”
The partnership should help ensure citizens are able to make informed donations to their favorite non-profits and charities and know who the credible emergency relief funds are to donate to during a crisis.
“In 2016, we had several relief funds pop up which were not affiliated with a registered or currently recognized tax-exempt nonprofit organization by the Secretary of State’s Office. We want to be sure folks do their homework to have increased confidence that donations of their hard-earned monies go to organizations serving West Virginia’s citizens and communities,” said Warner.
The following steps are recommended:
1) Do your homework to know the organization you are giving to is a currently registered tax-exempt organization in our state. You can do so via the Secretary of State and IRS websites.
2) Support your favorite nonprofits or charities directly such as food pantries, health clinics, home repair, homeless centers, youth programs, churches, senior programs, or other organizations.
3) If interested in broader community response, support one of the relief funds created by our state’s community foundations and/or United Ways which you can find a listing of credible funds. (They have waived fees to ensure funds go to those citizens and organizations in need.)
4) If your company planned to sponsor, or individuals purchased a ticket to a cancelled nonprofit fundraiser, let the nonprofit use those funds to support their needs and response to COVID-19. The nonprofits need critical revenue right now.
5) If you find an organization which is not registered with the Secretary of State or a fund that appears to have ill-intent, contact the WV Secretary of State’s Charitable Division by calling: (304) 558-8000 or the WV Attorney General’s Office at 304-558-8986.
These steps ensure West Virginian’s can be certain they are supporting properly registered nonprofits and relief funds that are responding to this crisis and serving our citizens.
“We appreciate Secretary Warner and his team’s commitment in West Virginia to ensure the accountability of nonprofit and charitable organizations making the greatest impact during this crisis,” said Daugherty.
For more information about the WV Secretary of State’s Office visit: www.wvsos.gov or Philanthropy West Virginia visit: www.philanthropywv.org.