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Maine Nonprofits Call For More Federal Pandemic Relief

Maine nonprofit leaders say more federal funding is needed to keep them afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a press conference on Friday, the Maine Association of Nonprofits said that without additional funds, nonprofits statewide could be at risk of layoffs or potential closures.

Kristen Farnham is the vice president of development for the behavioral service provider Spurwink. She says the need for services has only increased as more adults are reporting higher substance use and mental health challenges during the pandemic. Yet Farnham says her organization has been challenged by increased expenses for protective gear and technology, yet hasn’t qualified for federal assistance programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.

“And all of those are really unplanned budgetary expenses. So really unexpected, but significant, increases to expenses,” she says.

Abdulkerim Said is the executive director of the New Mainers Public Health Initiative in Lewiston, which helps immigrant families with translation, case management and education. He says more funding is important for his organization to maintain its services during a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted people of color.

"So this relief will boost up our service, and we can at least link the population to the services that are appropriate for them," he says.

Nonprofit groups are asking for the government to fund a second round of PPP loans, and to extend them to larger nonprofits such as Spurwink.