One day last week, Melanie Sturk was sitting in her car in her Halifax driveway, discussing her new normal. “The dog is still excited that we’re home,” she said, near the end of her first full week of working from home. “I have a virtual meeting later today, my husband was saying, ‘Oh, you’ll go viral if a dog comes onto the screen.’ I’d rather avoid that.”
Sturk is the director of organizational development at Phoenix Youth Programs in Halifax and, like everyone in Atlantic Canada’s charitable sector, is adjusting to delivering services in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re really trying to maintain the support that we provide, but having to do it in a very different way.”
While the outbreak has affected charitable organizations like Phoenix across the country, Atlantic Canada has been particularly hard hit. For years, the region has consistently seen lower amounts of charitable giving than the other provinces.
A 2018 report by the Rideau Hall Foundation and Imagine Canada found that, while claimed donations increased 150% across Canada between 1984 and 2014, Atlantic Canada saw the smallest increase in the number of donors (2.1%), total donations (1.6%), and the size of the average donation (1.5%). Anecdotally, local charities say they have been seeing higher demand for support and services, even before the pandemic.
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