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Nonprofit Spotlight: Modest Needs

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., more than 14 million Americans have become unemployed. That means unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession. Even if these workers and families had the recommended three to six months of emergency savings, they will have run through that savings by the time many businesses start opening again, leaving them with nothing and putting them in danger of homelessness.

When the outbreak first started leading to mass shutdowns and layoffs, I wanted to find a way to help the workers who could no longer make any income. I searched online for a while and finally discovered Modest Needs. Modest Needs is a tax-exempt charity where you can make small, emergency grants to low-income workers who are at risk of slipping into poverty and for whom no other source of immediate help is available. Since 2002, Modest Needs' donors have stopped the cycle of poverty for more than 15,000 hard-working individuals and families that conventional philanthropy otherwise had forgotten.

Many of the grant applicants are unemployed and just need help with paying rent, utilities, or medical bills. Donors can either fund an entire grant or donate a small amount to the total grant goal. Once a grant is fully funded, Modest Needs assists the person who has requested help by remitting payment directly to the vendor or creditor named in the applicant's documentation.

I hope you'll consider contributing to one or more grants and learning more about Modest Needs' mission to responsibly provide short-term financial assistance to individuals and families in temporary crisis.


Modest Needs


The problem:

Individuals and families in temporary crisis (many due to COVID-19) are working and living just above the poverty level and are ineligible for most types of conventional social assistance. They (like many of us) are living one or two lost paychecks away from the kind of financial catastrophe that eventually leads to homelessness.

"Thank you so much for this opportunity to stay afloat and to be able to have some security for my family. These months were filled with uncertainty with the rise and fall of cases and no improvement on job availability. I want to express my full appreciation for the hope you are giving my family. This is something I am going to share with my daughters so they see the good in the world and learn from this experience. I am so happy to be able to share this news with my wife. Thank you so much." - Husband and father of three daughters who received a grant to pay a mortgage bill

The work:

Modest Needs offers no-strings attached grants to cover unexpected or emergency assistance, as well as monthly bills that an individual or family living paycheck-to-paycheck cannot afford to pay at the time of their application because of a documentable extenuating circumstance. They raise the funds for each grant through direct crowdsource fundraising.

Who they serve:

Individuals and families living just above the poverty level. Special consideration is given to persons living alone (single persons with no dependent children), veterans who have recently returned home from military service, teachers, and first responders.

How you can help:

2. Purchase a gift certificate for someone else to fund a grant

3. Donate to the Modest Needs organization

4. Follow Modest Needs on Twitter and Facebook and tell your friends and family

Charity Navigator ranking:


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