Library Blog

Assistance for Individuals During the Pandemic and Beyond

Money bag with the word State support and family. State pensions, benefits and guarantees of social protection. Cash payments. Social assistance to low-income families to symbolize financial assistance to individuals

As the Grant Center Librarian for the Youngstown Public Library, I am sometimes contacted by people having personal financial difficulties, wishing to explore ways to resolve these challenges.  The Grant Center is a Funding Information Network Partner (FIN) of Candid.  Just like Candid, the Grant Center does not give grants or make donations or suggest specific funders or approach them on your behalf. 

Foundations generally provide grants to nonprofit organizations with 501 c 3 status from the Internal Revenue Service.  These nonprofits then provide services, depending on what population they serve.  Most assistance to individuals will come from charities or government assistance agencies. 

One of the first places I would recommend for assistance ideas would be Help Network of Northeast Ohio. 

Help Network “refers and links persons in need of emergency assistance to community resources that can provide it”.  “Disseminates information about community human services to individuals and families who need them.”  “Works with planning organizations and government units to ensure these services are provided”.   

Help Network maintains a database of services in areas such as food, utilities assistance, housing and health.  You can access this information by calling 211 or “clicking” on the type of help you need at the database, help finder on the website.  Help Network does so much more, but for our discussion today, this information will suffice. 

You may want to take the free survey at Benefits.gov to see which government benefits you may be entitled to.  Coronavirus resources that you may be eligible for, are also included at this site.   

USA.gov has links at How to Contact Your Elected Officials which will help you to contact your government representatives to learn about government sponsored or other programs you might be eligible for.   

Candid has done a great job of finding and compiling a list of emergency financial resources to help deal with COVID-19 hardships.  They’ve organized them by the categories of Nonprofit, Individual, Artists, Small Business and International Aid at Where can I find emergency financial resources to help with COVID-19 hardships? 

In addition to requests for information on funding for emergency needs for individuals, I sometimes hear from people who would like to offer assistance to people, families or religious congregations who may be going through financial difficulties.  For this, I would direct the inquirer to information on crowdfunding.   This is the practice of asking large groups of people for small amounts of money for a short period of time.  I encourage you to read this complete description of crowdfunding, What is crowdfunding?, provided at GrantSpace.org.  Another area of concern expressed by people is projects for their churches.  I invite you to read a helpful article, “How to Run a Crowdfunding Campaign for Your Church” again on GrantSpace.org. 

Staff at Candid have recommended the GoFundMe web article Free and Easy Fundraising Ideas for some great ideas to help others in need.   

As GrantSpace offered an explanation of crowdfunding, GoFundMe has as well and explains how crowdfunding is different from their perspective in the article, “What Is Crowdfunding? The Clear and Simple Answer.   

If you or someone you know is facing financial challenges, I hope this article has given you some fresh perspective on how to pursue assistance.  If you would like to discuss this topic further, please email me at Sfreaney@libraryvisit.org  or call the library number during the temporary closure, 330-259-3399.