The economic impact of COVID-19 on Arizona businesses, nonprofits

Business News | 25 Mar |

Even if economic activity in the United States were not being shut down in support of social distancing, experts say the current spread of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world has reduced demand in the world economy and complicates supply chains, and the drop in equity prices lowers household wealth to an extent that would have caused a sizable slowdown in the U.S. economy. When those factors are added to the economic disruption needed to fight the virus, the United States will likely see one of the sharpest economic contractions in its history this March. And Arizona is feeling it the economic contraction. Here is a look at the economic impact of COVID-19 and the crisis it has created on Arizona’s small businesses and nonprofits — so far.

East Valley Chambers of Commerce release COVID-19 impact report

The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance (EVCCA) released today the findings from a survey conducted of its more than 5,000 members to determine the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their revenue, operations, and supply chains. 

The report includes responses from 19 industry sectors and nearly 70 percent of respondents represent businesses with less than 20 employees. Based on the data and feedback received, the following commonalities were identified: 

• An immediate need for access to cash to keep their businesses afloat and to cover payroll expenses.  As such, the need to streamline the SBA loan application and to limit restrictions was identified as a priority.  Access to loans, lines of credit, and other funding options from local banks is essential as well.

Employers are concerned with the welfare of their employees and seek clarity on how to accommodate new Sick Leave, FMLA, and payroll tax credits. However, if businesses do not have access to cash, tax credits are not relevant as employees cannot be paid. Businesses are trying to reassign or identify new duties to keep current employees on the job, including delivery, maintenance, and remote work assignments.

• Access to medical and sanitizing supplies is critical, especially for our hospitals.  Many businesses require access to these supplies in order to operate, including meal prep, delivery, and carry-out services.

Businesses are asking for accurate and consistent information about COVID-19 and clarity to be provided for businesses and essential service protocols to keep employees and customers safe. 

The EVCCA will use this data, along with information received from upcoming surveys, to advocate for the immediate and long-term needs of the businesses for which they present.

To view the published report, visit the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce’s resource page at www.gilbertaz.com/covid-19.

The financial impact of coronavirus on nonprofits is at $30 million

n Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits survey of nonprofit organizations statewide showed that nearly 90% of the 364 respondents have been or expect to be significantly impacted by the spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus with the total loss of reported revenue at $29,946,350 as of March 20.

Of those organizations impacted, more than 83% reported decreased revenue from canceled events with nearly 60% expressing concern for budgetary implications related to strains on the national economy.

 Additionally, 54% indicated a disruption of services to clients and communities.

“It’s incredibly difficult to watch this happening and we’re certainly much too early in the process to even try to determine an overall dollar impact, but we do know that organizations reporting revenue impact expect to lose an average of 31% of their revenue with reported ranges up to $10 million,” said Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits CEO Kristen Merrifield.

Merrifield said that additional steps have been taken to provide expanded support through the upcoming Arizona Gives Day 24-hour online fundraising campaign, a collaboration with Arizona Grantmakers Forum and presented by First Bank, on April 7, including:

• An Emergency Relief Fund giving donors the option to increase donations as an add-on at check out or through direct donation at www.azgives.org/aznonprofits. All funds will be distributed equally among participating nonprofits.  

• Re-opening registration to allow organizations that had to cancel fundraisers, programs and other events that originally chose not to participate to be able to benefit from the fundraiser.  The new registration deadline is March 27: and

• A group of donors has provided separate funding enabling the Alliance to waive payment-processing fees normally paid by nonprofits participating in Arizona Gives Day, allowing more funds to go directly to the nonprofits.

“It’s clear that Arizona nonprofits are facing a triple threat from the COVID-19 outbreak: staggering revenue losses from canceled events, workforce shortages as volunteers and paid staff stay home, and dramatically increased demand for their services,” said Arizona Grantmakers Forum President and CEO Laurie Liles. “They urgently need all Arizonans to give generously on Arizona Gives Day and beyond.”

Since 2013, Arizona Gives Day has generated $17 million in donations to Arizona nonprofits with $3.6 million donated in 2019. 

Early giving is open at www.azgives.org.

Additional survey results showed that 10% of respondents anticipated little or no impact, 40% expected moderate disruptions and 50% are preparing for high or significant impact.

Most nonprofits also report adhering to hygiene-safety recommendations, staying informed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arizona Department of Health Services updates.

For more information about the Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund, visit wwwazgives.org/relieffund.  For more information about the Arizona Gives Day, visit www.azgives.org.

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