Programs see a silver lining in the face of possible cutbacks
In the 24 hours since the White House released a budget that could cut funding to programs like Meals on Wheels, the food delivery program for homebound seniors has received 50 times their usual donations and seen an almost 500% spike in volunteers, a spokesperson confirmed to Moneyish.
Meals on Wheels sends 218 million meals to more than 2.4 million Americans – more than half a million of them veterans – ages 60 and up each year. More than 200 million volunteers deliver the goods to recipients, many of whom live alone and rely on this for half the food they eat or more.
The Blueprint Budget for 2018 calls for reductions to two grants that Meals on Wheels relies on in some of its locations, and slashes funds from supporting services like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services budget and the Older Americans Act. The cuts are meant to reduce the nation’s $20 trillion debt and direct more money to defense spending.
Even though about only 3% of the Meals on Wheels operating budget comes from these federal grants, the charity is concerned that the new budget could cut even deeper than expected as more information emerges.
“The problem with a skinny budget is it is lean on details. So, while we don’t know the exact impact yet, cuts of any kind to these highly successful and leveraged programs would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America, which in turn saves billions of dollars in reduced healthcare expenses,” said Meals on Wheels president and CEO Ellie Hollander in a statement.
Her concerns struck a chord with donors.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) March 16, 2017
Let's donate to Meals on Wheels today. Tweet receipts and I'll match up to $500. Volunteered in HS they do good work https://t.co/Z2qUnjt9Tv
— Sean 🚐 (@voidqk) March 17, 2017
Meals on Wheels isn’t the only program enjoying a windfall of support since Trump took office.
In just the week after the November 2016 election, Planned Parenthood pulled in nearly 200,000 donations, or 40 times more than in a typical week. The uptick has continued as the Administration threatened to defund the organization for providing abortions among its health services. While the group won’t share specific numbers, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and businesswoman Elaine Wynn, cofounder of Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts, have each publicly donated $1 million apiece.
The American Civil Liberties Union has collected nearly $80 million in online donations since the election, with a record $24 million haul in the two days following the Administration’s first travel ban in January. That’s six times what it typically raises over an entire year. Membership has also doubled to nearly 1.2 million since the election, and its Twitter followers have tripled.
And the Sierra Club confirmed to Moneyish that by the end of January, it had gained 42,000 monthly donors since Trump was elected.
Conservative groups have also enjoyed a boost in support, including the Californians for Population Stabilization, which supports limiting immigration. They received four times their usual donations after the November election. The Susan B. Anthony List anti-abortion group also reported a bump in support.
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