The NIRSA family is a group that takes action. It’s not like us to be sidelined when something needs doing. While we’re all doing the right thing right now by sheltering in place, it can simultaneously feel as though we’re not doing much of anything at all.

When discussing her family’s commitment to feeding local hospital employees, Robyn Deterding, Director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, sums it up perfectly: “At a time when we feel so out of control, it gives you a purpose and allows you to connect with so many people who are doing essential work.”

Here are some ways to get involved in supporting others during this COVID-19 crisis. These suggestions are based on information I recently received about non-profits that are currently being inundated with requests. It is by no means an exhaustive list of opportunities. Also, unfortunately, many scammers are posing as charities right now. So please don’t give money to a GoFundMe campaign unless you personally know the individuals involved.

How to get involved

  • Check to see if your campus or state is offering volunteer or donation opportunities.
  • Feed essential workers! Contact a group of essential workers and find out if they’re accepting deliveries of food/meals—and make sure to check out their guidelines for doing so. You might contact your local hospital, police department, or fire department to find out if you can have pizza delivered to the staff at your local grocery store.
  • Donate to your local food banks, domestic violence shelters and hotlines; and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. All of these organizations are trying to support their community’s pressing needs.
  • Consider giving blood.
  • Find out what kind of direct services your local United Way is supporting and offering.
  • Heading out to the grocery store? Call a neighbor or friend to see if you can pick anything up for them since you’re already planning to go out.
  • Do you have children at home? Have them write some notecards or draw pictures to send to essential workers and to nursing home residents. Hanging some of their art in your windows will also draw smiles from passersby—and who doesn’t need more of those?

To take care of the NIRSA family as the impact of COVID-19 continues to hit our community, the NIRSA Foundation is working closely with the Association to find out how we can best direct unrestricted funding to support NIRSA members. We look forward to sharing further details regarding this work as they become available.


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Philanthropy Kim Holmes.
Director of Philanthropy at | NIRSA Profile

Kim Holmes is currently the Director of Philanthropy at NIRSA.