Sometimes, the phrase “nonprofit” downplays the impact these organizations have on Wyoming’s economy.

Nonprofits employ nearly 19,300 people in Wyoming and pay wages of about $743 million annually.

Those nonprofits are responsible for protecting, feeding, healing, sheltering, educating and nurturing our friends, family and neighbors across the state.

And Tuesday morning, many of them will receive the help they desperately need to continue fulfilling their mission.

The Wyoming Business Council, the state’s economic development agency, is launching two programs designed to help for-profit and nonprofit businesses in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The first program did not help nonprofits, but these programs will.

The Relief Fund will provide up to $300,000 for eligible organizations. The Mitigation Fund offers up to $500,000.

The programs aren’t perfect, and they won’t make nonprofits whole, or help all the nonprofits who need it. But it’s a step in the right direction.

The Business Council has many resources available to help eligible organizations understand the rules and prepare the information needed to apply quickly.

Nonprofits were hit by a one-two punch in this pandemic. At the same time as gifts, donations and grants dried up, the need for the services these organizations provide skyrocketed in demand.

The combination has left organizations reeling. As the head of the Laramie County Community Partnership, I am helping 65 community partners that include health and human services, government, nonprofit and faith-based groups navigate the turbulent waters ahead.

Assistance like the Business Council programs is a piece of that. It’s also going to take the generosity of our community, which has shone brighter than ever since March.

Learn more about Amy Spieker’s campaign to represent you in the Wyoming State Legislature. We also have many ways you can support Amy Spieker’s campaign.