More than $100,000 (so far) has been raised in an effort coordinated by Fresno Pacific University’s Center for Community Transformation (CCT) to support faith-based nonprofits and community benefit organizations that are providing crucial value to the community, but which are small enough to be vulnerable to “catching” COVID-019.

Working in partnership with a group of nonprofit leaders, Randy White, D.Min., executive director of the CCT, created the Faith-Based Nonprofit Resilience Fund in early April after a CCT survey showed one in three small faith-based nonprofits in the Valley had to lay off or furlough staff and one in four said their existence would be threatened if shelter-in-place restrictions extended into May. Fresno’s shelter-in-place order, first established March 19, is set to expire June 1, and the state directive continues based on local conditions rather than a date.

“In some cases, these gifts will mean the difference between these organizations serving the community and having to furlough workers, or even close,” White said.

The fund is a 45-day push to raise money needed as a bridge through shelter-in-place to ensure stability and viability in the aftermath of the pandemic. “We need these vital community benefit organizations not only to survive the crisis but be healthy to help with our recovery in the aftermath. This is privately funded stimulus,” White said.

Headed by White, the steering committee includes Ashley Swearengin, CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation; H Spees, director of strategic initiatives for the Fresno Mayor’s Office; Artie Padilla, executive director of Every Neighborhood Partnership; and Phil Skei, neighborhood initiatives manager at the Fresno Housing Authority Office and co-pastor at On-Ramps Covenant Church. “This blue-ribbon panel of leaders is intimately connected to the ministry ecosystem in the community, and knows the special pressures on small nonprofits,” White said.

Potential donors received an email April 22, and FPU set up a link for donations at The first gifts were sent beginning May 11 and will continue until the end of the campaign. Allocations are made based on a four-tiered system according to need, capacity and viability.

Benefiting organizations from Fresno, New London, Hanford, Kingsburg and Merced provide services to:

  • human trafficking victims
  • foster care ministry
  • ministry with children and families in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty
  • community development projects that improve neighborhoods
  • rehabilitation for girls and women in recovery
  • street kids, motel kids and homeless people
  • job development for gang youth and job training for formerly incarcerated persons
  • ministry training for the next generation of leaders
  • food and clothing relief
  • GED and financial literacy training for vulnerable populations

The campaign remains open until June 15. “I am so grateful for generous donors in our community who without fanfare are standing in the gap on behalf of these vital organizations,” White said.

More about CCT at


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations