The increased need for services and the uncertainty of funding brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic had the small, dedicated staff of Northwest Valley Connect (NVC) scrambling to cover the needs of the ‘new normal’ landscape. Started in 2014 to fill the gaps in transportation needs for seniors, people with disabilities and veterans in the Northwest Valley, today  NVC covers the entire West Valley, including Tolleson.

“We had to quickly pivot our services to cover the new landscape for social distancing and quarantines for many of our clients,” said NVC Executive Director Kathy Chandler. “In 2019 we transported 500 people for a total of 16,000 trips. We had to pivot from just transportation resources to calling and doing well-checks on clients and figuring how to get their groceries and medicines delivered since many could not make the trips on their own anymore.”

The organization struggled with providing these new services as well as raising revenue to cover the increased costs caused by COVID-19.

In response, Experience Matters began offering pro-bono services for short-term projects addressing the immediate needs caused by the current crisis.

The pro-bono program was able to provide an experienced volunteer to assist NVC with raising the funds it needed to address  immediate needs. The volunteer also helped create a long-term vision and plan for fundraising and development moving into the future.

“Dr. Anne White, our Experience Matters volunteer, is terrific,” explained Chandler. “She put together a plan that brought in immediate donations. And, she completely retooled our marketing and website. She was just what we needed and I expect it to have lasting effects.”

The admiration is mutual. Dr. White believes in the organization’s mission and the crucial services it provides to the community.

“Kathy is only one person with a small staff…many of whom she lost when the crisis hit,” said Dr. White. “This is why the pro-bono services are so critical for organizations that don’t have experienced staff in certain areas or necessary funds. It’s so important to let the community know what NVC is doing to help out.”

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