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Jack Cooper
Jack Cooper
  • 2 Minute Read
  • 14th October 2013

Philanthropy during the US government shutdown

With no end to the US government shutdown in sight, hundreds of thousands of furloughed public sector workers have faced slashed paychecks and the closure of many places of work. Many families are reporting very real concerns as to how the shutdown will affect their finances come the end of the month, as many face receiving half their usual amount as a result of mandatory unpaid leave.

For that reason, it's refreshing to see several companies have put their philanthropy where their mouth is, and are working to make a real difference for those worst affecting and facing real hardship.


Financial assistance

JPMorgan's Chase Bank are offering assistance through a special hardship program available to government employees, on a case-by-case basis. In addition, Chase have committed to waiving fees on checking and savings accounts that may be incurred due to a lower than expected account balance.

"This is a difficult and stressful situation for these government workers facing a disruption in pay, and Chase is here to try to help," said Barry Sommers, CEO of the Consumer Bank at Chase. "We all hope this will be resolved soon."

The global finance firm is also to waive fees incurred by late payments on credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and home-equity loans.

Office space

Leading office space provider Metro Offices are offering private offices and flexible workspaces to employees in need of a professional business setting while the shutdown is underway. Operating on a first-come, first-served basis, the provider has additionally pledged meeting rooms and executive lounges to professionals affected.

“The federal shutdown has been a traumatic event for the dedicated professionals who serve in our nation’s capital,” said Kathlene Buchanan, president of Metro Offices. “Until the shutdown is resolved, we have decided that opening our doors across all of our locations will give these public servants a place to feel connected, catch up on correspondence, and access free Wi-Fi in a professional setting without having to go to a coffee shop.”

The company has nine locations in the Washington area, including three in downtown Washington, five in Northern Virginia, and one in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The facilities offer free Wi-Fi, VoIP telephone service, complimentary beverages, access to white boards, and other services.

Food for those in need

In what can only be described as a hugely controversial move, the government withdrew funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) - a program that supports over 8.9 million mothers and children living near or below the poverty line.

The benefits of welfare for infants and mothers are obvious, and are a massively concerning side effect of the shutdown. One in four children in the state of North Carolina go hungry every day, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. WIC provides benefits to 270,000 women, infants and children in the state once a month.

While these benefits are in jeopardy, families are being redirected to food banks. Several companies have made sizable donations to community food banks across the country, which provide support to those in desperate need during the rough economic downturn the shutdown has brought. Stores like Food Lion are offering gift cards through food banks, than can be used in any of their stores. In the spirit of WIC, the store credit on the cards is not redeemable against alcohol or tobacco.

To find out more:

JPMorgan Chase & Co.: 1-888-356-0023

Metro Offices: 877-824-6999

Food Lion LLC: 1-800-210-9569