The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a major toll at Best Buddies, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
More than 51 percent of Best Buddies participants in Florida have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, according to Kforce, a Tampa-based staffing company.
“This breaks my heart,” Kye Mitchell, chief operating officer at Kforce, wrote in a recent blog post.
Kforce (Nasdaq: KFRC), one of the largest companies in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, is rallying support for Best Buddies. Kforce has established a corporate partnership with the nonprofit to help provide career-focused resources and training for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD) through their Job Program. The program matches qualified, skilled individuals with IDD with businesses seeking enthusiastic and dedicated employees.
“As business leaders, I believe it’s our responsibility to embrace neurodiversity and commit to an inclusive workforce. I encourage fellow leaders to consider: How can we ingrain these talented individuals into our work community?” said Mitchell.
Kforce is also a sponsor of the Virtual Friendship Walk on Saturday, June 20, and hopes the community will offer support by joining the virtual walk or donating.
Best Buddies had hoped to raise $70,000 from the walk. “We have actually surpassed our original fundraising goal of $70,000 and we’re well on our way towards our stretch goal of $80,000. Currently, we’ve raised $75,653,” said Jaclyn Clark, area director, Tampa Bay for Best Buddies International.
Other ways to support Best Buddies are to become a volunteer or a buddy, Kforce said in a news release.