Open letter published by a coalition of NGOs on 20 April 2020 – accessible here in German
More than 30 million citizens are involved in over 600,000 non-profit organizations. The non-profit social economy also employs over 3.7 million people. Voluntary commitment is systemically relevant and needs support in order to avoid permanent and structural disruptions. The non-profit sector is no less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than the economy: because civil society means understanding, joint action and economic activity, cooperation and togetherness. And this is exactly what the current pandemic makes considerably more difficult, if not impossible in some areas.
As an alliance of large umbrella organisations and independent organisations from the public benefit sector, as well as experts and scientists, we welcome the decisive action now being taken by the federal and state governments and the health authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as far as possible.
At the same time, we call on the Federal Government to provide immediate assistance not only to industry, but also to organisations from the non-profit sector. The preservation of civil society, which is extremely important for our democracy, social cohesion and our welfare state, must not be forgotten. In recent decades, crisis management has always been best when public, private and non-profit actors have joined forces.
The focus must therefore also be on preventing drastic negative consequences in civil society caused by the current paralysis of public life. The diversity of civil society organisations and civil society action must also be preserved. This requires state support.