Drop in charitable donations could harm not-for-profit long-term care | Unions Yeah!

Drop in charitable donations could harm not-for-profit long-term care

This situation is yet another reminder of why having not-for-profit organizations take over public services like long-term care doesn’t solve the problem of underfunding. It just changes how the services are funded.

Ottawa (06. Jan 2021) — The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the revenues of not-for-profit long-term care facilities could harm the quality of care that these facilities are able to provide residents. 

Looking at Ottawa area organizations, CBC News has reported that some not-for-profit long-term care organizations saw a significant drop in the charitable donations during the pandemic. Not-for-profit long-term care facilities often use donations to improve services so the drop in donations could end up affecting the care residents receive. 

Larger question is whether long-term care facilities must rely on charity

This situation is yet another reminder of why having not-for-profit organizations take over public services like long-term care doesn’t solve the problem of underfunding. It just changes how the services are funded.

To their credit, most not-for-profit organizations try to provide quality services. Unlike for-profit companies, with not-for-profit organizations public funding that could go to front-line services doesn’t end up paying for investor profits. 

But the ability of not-for-profit organizations to provide quality services depends on how much they receive from governments and through charitable donations. If public funding is inadequate, their reliance on charity increases. And, as we’re seeing during the pandemic, charitable donations are not a reliable source of funding.

Solution is increased funding 

The danger of relying on charity to fund essential services is a lesson our grandparents learned. Health care became a public service because it was recognized that if we relied on charity to fund it, people would slip through the cracks. That’s as true today as it was in the 1960s or 1970s. 

We also have the ability to adequately fund public services. Billions in potential tax revenue are going uncollected because governments are not closing tax loopholes, not taking meaningful action to crack down on tax havens, and not reversing tax cuts that primarily benefit large corporations and the wealthy. 

With tax fairness, residents of long-term care facilities wouldn’t be left to rely on charity.