featured graphic for Orange County Community Foundation during COVID-19

Orange County Community Foundation’s “The Future is Working” Giving Day raises $179,519

As unemployment and uncertainty about job security continue due to the widespread impacts of COVID-19, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) hosted The Future is Working – a collaborative Giving Day designed to bolster workforce opportunities in Orange County. During the 24-hour online effort, held on March 25, 455 donors helped raise $179,519 for 11 nonprofits offering programs and services to help remove barriers to employment and build a flexible and resilient workforce.

The global health pandemic has dramatically impacted our economy and workforce. AP News recently reported[1] that California, the nation’s most populous state, has processed more than 16 million unemployment benefit claims since March 2020. Locally, the 2020-2021 Orange County Community Indicators Report reveals that Orange County unemployment skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains at historically high levels with a reduction of nearly 195,000 jobs as of July 2020 – translating to a 283% increase in total unemployment. Research also shows that those job losses have had a larger impact on our most vulnerable populations. Nearly 90,000 of the county’s lost jobs were in the leisure, hospitality, or retail sectors – sectors that traditionally employ more people who are immigrants and/or people of color[2].

The funds raised during The Future is Working surpassed an initial $90,000 goal by 200%. The more than $179,519 raised will allow the participating nonprofits to help employers, workers, students, and the most vulnerable residents adjust to rapidly changing economic conditions. The nonprofits involved included, Chrysalis; CIELO; Community Action Partnership Orange County; Hart Community Homes, Inc.; High School, Inc.;Kherut; JVS SoCal; Orange County Conservation Corps; Taller San Jose Hope Builders; Youth Employment Service; and Vital Link – all leaders in workforce development.

“The Future is Working is not only a campaign theme, but a resounding declaration in support of the nonprofits that are bolstering equitable opportunities for Orange County’s workforce,” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO of the Orange County Community Foundation. “We are grateful to our community for stepping up today to support this Giving Day and invest in the long-term health and vitality of our region.”

The Future is Working campaign is part of OCCF’s iheartOC Collaborative Giving Days, an annual initiative that designates 10 cause-specific giving days around community issues. The online giving model matches OC nonprofits with shared missions – from workforce development and homelessness to preserving ecosystems and supporting local veterans – to gain momentum on one shared day and leverage a combined outreach effort for collective success. In 2020, the 10 days secured support from 6,476 donors and raised a record $3.2 million for 98 nonprofits. Since its start in 2015, OCCF’s Collaborative Giving Days have raised more than $10 million for Orange County nonprofits.

For more information about Orange County Community Foundation Collaborative Giving Days, please visit oc-cf.org/givingdays.

This article was released by the Orange County Community Foundation.