SEATTLE — In good times, they help keep our communities strong.
But nonprofits of all sizes in Washington state are hurting right now.
More than 80 locally-operated organizations have either canceled or postponed their Spring auctions due coronavirus concerns.
Many are now turning to online events, including Melodic Caring Project – a nonprofit uniquely outfitted for the change.
"Specifically what we do is film live concerts and stream them to kids in their hospital rooms,” said founder Levi Ware. He and his wife Stephanie, both Skagit County residents, launched the nonprofit 10 years ago.
Melodic Caring Project has live-streamed performances to thousands of quarantined children in western Washington and around the world. Participating artists include Hozier, Alabama Shakes, Coldplay, Jason Mraz, Fitz and the Tantrums and Andy Grammer.
As the kids watch, the musicians give them shout-outs in front of cheering live audiences.
"They're stuck in isolation, and just knowing that someone outside is recognizing them and cheering them on, it lets them know that they're not alone in everything they're going through,” Stephanie said.
But for all the good they do, MCP is at risk. Their annual gala, which accounts for 75% of their budget, was scheduled for Saturday.
"First we went into full-blown panic,” Levi said. “But then we realized, wait a second - this is what we were created for."
Rather than canceling the event, they'll use their existing technology to live stream it to anyone who wants to watch. It will include live music and compelling stories – less like an auction and more like a late-night talk show.
For the first time ever, the artists/hosts will also give shout-outs to elderly viewers in long-term care facilities. Requests can be made online prior to the event.
The Wares believe the coronavirus outbreak gives the general public a better sense of what quarantined children and their families have experienced for years.
"Because of COVID-19, we're all feeling those feelings,” Levi said. “It's created an empathy within all of us.”
MCP’s message, originally designed for children, now resonates with the masses. Stephanie hopes their streaming event will spread a message of love and unity.
"Show some compassion, inspire our communities all over to do the same, and offer some goodness into the world,” she said.
The streaming event starts at 5 p.m. PST on Saturday, March 21.
"Please keep in mind that there's a lot of nonprofits that are taking a really hard hit right now,” Levi said. “They're doing wonderful things in the community and still need your support, so they can survive and continue to do good things in the community."