183 posts categorized "Disaster Relief"

A 'Just and Resilient Recovery' framework for international donors and financial institutions

July 09, 2020

HR&A_just_resilient_recovery_shutterstockEven as some of the most severe COVID-19 outbreaks subside, the pandemic continues to spread around the world, with 11.5 million cases confirmed and more than five hundred thousand deaths as we write. Roughly two-thirds of all new confirmed cases are in developing countries, with Latin America alone accounting for over a third of new confirmed cases.

The economic disruption that the virus and measures to contain it have brought to developed economies will be dwarfed by the consequences of similar efforts in the developing world. According to forecasts from the World Bank, COVID-19 will, by the end of 2020, push an additional forty-nine million people into extreme poverty. That represents an increase of 8 percent and would be the first increase in extreme poverty globally since the Asian financial crisis in 1998. The projections suggest that sub-Saharan Africa, where an additional twenty-three million people could fall into extreme poverty, will be hardest hit, with Latin America and the Caribbean and South Asia splitting the balance.

Designing emergency response programs, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and long-term economic recovery plans to address the effects of the pandemic will be more challenging in places where the economic damage is deepest and existing inequality the most acute. Indeed, a combination of already-stagnant economies, tight fiscal conditions, and weak institutional capacity has created a perfect storm in many developing countries.

A Framework for International Donors and Financial Institutions

Against this backdrop, the mitigation of economic and social damage in many countries has been left to global philanthropies and international financial institutions. The G20 countries have agreed to a useful, if limited, suspension of debt service for the poorest countries, and the World Bank moved quickly to mobilize $160 billion in new and repurposed capital, which was followed by other multilateral development groups. We believe, however, that these efforts will be insufficient if these and other institutions do not take a structured approach to understanding needs on the ground and the prioritization of the implementation of their actions.

While most actors have rightfully focused their immediate attention on public health measures and efforts to strengthen the safety net, as cities and regions start emerging from quarantine and effective therapies and vaccines are developed they will need to collectively address the underlying economic and social challenges that have made COVID-19 so devastating and destabilizing for the most vulnerable groups in society.

Based on our experience with previous natural, economic, and humanitarian crises, we have developed a framework to help guide cities and communities on the path to a more "Just and Resilient Recovery." The framework calls for public and private institutions to organize and coordinate their COVID-19 recovery efforts around the four sequential phases illustrated below.

Global Philantropy Commentary Graphic

The time for planning and coordinating fiscal policy efforts is now. Global donors and financial development institutions should start planning and prioritizing how and where their assistance will be directed to ensure that countries and cities that receive that assistance can use it to create a more just and resilient "next" normal that addresses some of the structural inequities of the old normal, including poverty, informality, and discrimination.

Over the coming weeks and months, as institutions continue to organize their internal resources and begin to develop road maps for the next phase of the recovery, they should consider the following:

Assess the economic disruption: As lockdowns ease and more evidence and data becomes available, institutions should develop a more granular understanding of the economic and fiscal impact of the virus in the countries and jurisdictions they serve. This can be done at scale with a dynamic model that takes into consideration baseline economic conditions pre-crisis, the scope of containment measures taken and the degree to which they have been enforced, the level of unemployment (formal and informal), and, where appropriate, the fiscal measures already taken by governments to mitigate the economic impacts of the virus. The model should also take into account the compounding effects of future natural disasters and the percentage of the population lacking access to clean water and waste treatment infrastructure. This more granular understanding of the economic damage resulting from the virus will enable institutions to better calibrate the magnitude and speed of the response required in different countries, regions, and communities.

Understand needs and opportunities: Supported by such an assessment, institutions need to understand which economic sectors and segments of the population have been most impacted and what the opportunities are to rethink how to rebuild and create employment opportunities in more productive industries. A focus on sectors with high economic multipliers such as technology, research, and advanced manufacturing should be seen as an opportunity to bring substantial numbers of workers into the formal economy and prepare large segments of the population for the future of work.

Map resources: Once the economic damage and the opportunities for a more just and resilient economic recovery have been identified, institutions need to think carefully about how to leverage resources from other countries, donors, and the private sector. The capital from donors and multilateral development banks should be seen as a "filler" that closes financial gaps and addresses market failures, catalyzing private investment and participation. Understanding the potential to effectively leverage private-sector participation under the current short-term capital commitments from development banks will be critical. That includes exploring more active participation in public-private concessions, providing availability payments, and making backstop guarantees to de-risk projects.

Prioritize areas of investment: With an understanding of the needs, opportunities, and resources available in the short- and mid-term, institutions should be able to prioritize the allocation of resources across countries and sectors in an efficient way and provide guidance and direction to specific country offices and divisions accordingly. Such a prioritization should consider which industries and clusters are best positioned to increase productivity and create jobs and how communities can benefit from such growth in an inclusive manner. This could include investments in digital infrastructure that pave the way for greater innovation and technology, public transportation to make job opportunities accessible to everyone and cities more sustainable, and resilient infrastructure designed to mitigate the shock and disruption of future climate-related disasters.

The global development community has a generational opportunity to substantially transform the economies of the poorest countries, leveraging resources from all sectors, with a focus on investments that boost productivity and eradicate secular inequities and establish a precedent for a Just and Resilient Economic Recovery. Let’s not let that opportunity go by the wayside.

(Photo credit: HR&A Advisors)

Shuprotim_Bhaumik_Ignacio_MontojoShuprotim Bhaumik is a partner at HR&A Advisors, where he specializes in economic development and public policy consulting. Ignacio Montojo is a director at HR&A and specializes in the design and implementation of public-private partnerships and financing strategies for infrastructure and real estate development projects. Both have worked on behalf of several international financial institutions, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Finance Corporation in countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Panama, and South Africa.

Corporations Ramp Up Support for COVID-19 Response Efforts (May 1-15, 2020)

May 24, 2020

SARS-CoV-2As COVID-19 spreads globally and in the United States, corporations and their foundations are stepping up with funding to meet the needs of individuals and vulnerable populations impacted by the virus. The  roundup below captures some of the corporate activity in response to COVID-19 over the last two weeks. (In many cases, larger gifts have been covered separately as part of PND's daily news feed.) Items are sorted in alpha order by company name.

For more coverage, check out PND's COVID-19 page and Candid's COVID-19 popup page.

The Akamai Foundation, a charitable fund endowed by Cambridge-based Akamai Technologies, has announced a $1.1 million commitment in support of global COVID-19 relief efforts. The commitment includes grants totaling nearly $500,000 to twenty-nine organizations providing medical care, support for health clinics, food assistance, and emergency child care in sixteen countries where Akamai employees live and work.

Amazon has announced a commitment of $3.9 million over three years through its Amazon Future Engineer program to CodeVA in support of that organization's efforts to provide computer science education and training to high-needs school in Virginia. Since the COVID-19 public health emergency began, the nonprofit has conducted live online code-along events, including free bi-weekly AP computer science exam prep sessions, and has developed unplugged computer science education resources for students lacking good Internet connectivity.

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has announced grants totaling $260,000 to address food insecurity in Ohio communities. Grants include $135,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, $100,000 to Feeding America, $50,000 to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, and $25,000 to the Children's Hunger Alliance. The foundation also announced commitments totaling more than $1.9 million to nonprofits serving communities and families elsewhere hit hard by COVID-19. Recipients include United Way's Statewide Coronavirus Recovery Program ($25,000), Virginia's Feeding America food banks ($125,000), the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education ($100,000), Boys & Girls Clubs of America ($135,000), and Senior Services of Southeast Virginia ($37,000).

The Avista Foundation in Spokane, Washington, has announced a second round of grants in support of COVID-19 relief efforts, including $129,000 to local United Way agencies and $100,000 to forty-five food pantries across the utility company's service area.

The Avon Foundation for Women has announced emergency grants totaling $1 million to help address the surge in domestic violence resulting from COVID-related shelter-in-place restrictions around the globe. Grants were awarded to fifty organizations in thirty-seven countries providing support for at-risk women and children, including Women's Aid (United Kingdom), the National Shelter Network (Mexico), and the Family Planning Association (India).

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $825,000 to forty community-based organizations providing healthcare, childcare, and other services for essential workers; emergency food shelf and delivery services for vulnerable populations; assistance for people facing economic insecurity, homelessness, or housing insecurity; and anti-xenophobia and anti-bias efforts related to COVID-19.

The Booz Allen Foundation has announced the launch of a $1 million Innovation Fund to support the development of creative solutions to the wide-ranging impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The fund will award grants of up to $100,000 to help nonprofits, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, innovators at colleges and universities, and startups and small businesses harness the power of data, technology, and intellectual capital to improve COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.

Cambia Health Foundation in Portland, Oregon, has announced a $3 million commitment in support of efforts to meet the needs of underserved communities and frontline providers while strengthening healthcare infrastructure in the region. The funding includes grants totaling $1 million to four community health associations — Oregon Primary Care Association, Washington Association for Community Health, Association for Utah Community Health, and Idaho Primary Care Association — that support the work of Federally Qualified Health Centers. Grants also were awarded to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and other organizations to provide tools, information, and training for faster COVID-19 symptom assessment and management, strengthen compassionate patient and family communications, and speed the adoption of telehealth services.

The Catalyst Housing Group has announced the launch of the Essential Housing Fund, which will focus its initial efforts on reducing rental housing costs for teachers in Marin County, California, where the local school district faces significant state budget cuts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Seeded with a donation of $100,000 from Catalyst, the fund will help qualified teacher households secure discounted rents in a rental community Catalyst recently acquired in partnership with the California Community Housing Agency.

The First Responders Children's Foundation in New York City has announced a $1 million commitment from Cisco Systems in support of first responders working to address COVID-19 outbreaks across the United States. The gift will provide financial assistance to emergency medical technicians, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, dispatchers, and medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients, as well as college scholarships for the children of those who have died working on the front lines of the pandemic.

In the wake of COVID-related school closures, the Duke Energy Foundation has announced grants totaling $382,000 in support of K-12 education groups in Indiana focused on summer reading, STEM, and experiential learning programs.

Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation has announced a $200,000 partnership with First Descents to launch an outdoor adventure program designed to help nurses and other healthcare professionals cope with traumatic stress stemming from their work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. First Descents, which provides adventure-based healing experiences for young adults impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions, will create wellness programs aimed at nurturing supportive peer relationships for a thousand healthcare workers in cities hard hit by COVID-19, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City.

Emergen-C, a health-beverage company, has announced a $500,000 grant to Americares in support of the organization's efforts to deliver much-needed protective supplies — masks, gowns, gloves, and disinfectants — and provide skill-building workshops and emotional support for frontline health workers.

Entergy Corporation has announced contributions totaling $1.3 million from shareholders to its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund in support of United Way and other nonprofits working to assist customers and communities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, and Texas impacted by the virus. Grants awarded to date include $100,000 from Entergy Louisiana to help create the Fueling the Fight fund with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation; a donation of more than $385,000 from Entergy Mississippi to create the Mississippi Relief Fund, with funds to be shared by fifteen area nonprofits; and a $300,000 contribution from Entergy Texas to the Southeast Texas Relief Fund in support of nine nonprofits serving twenty-two counties.

Georgia Pacific's Angel Soft brand has pledged up to $2 million to the #GiveTogetherNow initiative, a rapid-response fund launched to provide direct cash assistance to families impacted by COVID-19. In addition to contributing $1 million to the fund, the brand will match up to $1 million in additional donations.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has announced a $500,000 donation and an additional $500,000 dollar-for-dollar match from Gilead Sciences for all new donations to its Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief initiative. The initiative also received $300,000 from the MAC Viva Glam Fund, $250,000 from ViiV Healthcare, and $100,000 from the P. Austin Family Foundation. The funds will enable Broadway Cares to provide grants to HIV/AIDS and service organizations across the country whose resources have been stretched by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Hancock Whitney in Gulfport, Mississippi, has announced commitments totaling $2.5 million in support of vulnerable Gulf Coast communities impacted by COVID-19. Investments include $1 million for the restocking of local food pantries; $600,000 for the purchase of protective supplies for residents in low- to moderate-income communities as well as first responders; $800,000 in support of housing relief, including legal services for those fighting illegal eviction; and $100,000 for the Hancock Whitney Associate Assistance Fund.

Intercontinental Exchange has announced grants totaling $10 million in support of frontline responders in the thirty-five cities where it has offices. Grants were awarded to forty-one nonprofits, including Atlanta Partners for Education, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Boston Foundation, Greater Chicagoland Food Depository, National Emergencies Trust (United Kingdom), New York Community Trust, New York City Police Foundation, and Telangana CM Relief (India).

Intouch Group, a pharmaceuticals marketing solutions agency based in Overland Park, Kansas, has announced a donation of more than $100,000 to Heart to Heart International, an NGO focused on improving access to healthcare services. The funding will support the organization's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, enable it to provide infection prevention and control (IPC) training to nonprofits, and match Intouch employee donations toward the distribution of HHI hygiene kits, which include items such as gloves, cloth face coverings, and hand-sanitizing wipes.

Mary Kay has announced cash and product donations worth nearly $10 million in support of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impacts on vulnerable populations. Efforts to assist frontline responders and others include the manufacture and donation of hand sanitizer to hospitals and healthcare systems, CARE, and other organizations; grants awarded through the Mary Kay Foundation to domestic violence shelters; and donations in support of efforts to secure COVID-19 tests, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Mastercard and the PepsiCo Foundation have announced the launch of Westchester Strong with Healthcare Heroes, a two-year, $1 million fund in support of White Plains Hospital staff working on the front lines of the public health emergency. Initially, the program will focus on funding the purchase of critical supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as the hospital's efforts to meet government requirements to increase its capacity, before shifting to supporting the well-being of frontline staff.

Northern Trust has announced that it is providing $100 million in low-cost funding to assist community development financial institutions working to provide loans to small businesses and nonprofit organizations under the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The funding includes $50 million to the Self-Help Fund, $25 million to the National Development Council's CDFI Subsidiary Grow America Fund, and $10 million to immito, the SBA subsidiary of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Northwestern Mutual has announced a gift of more than $200,000 through the Northwestern Mutual Foundation to Children's Wisconsin to help provide PPE as well as food relief and support. The donation includes $100,000 for replacement lenses for Controlled Air Purifying Respirators used by medical teams and more than $6,000 in meal gift cards for healthcare workers and inpatient families at the Children's Wisconsin MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Northwestern Mutual also is partnering with the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Florentine Opera, and First Stage, which have tasked their costume-making departments to sew masks, gowns, and face shields for hospital staff.

The Sozosei Foundation, a U.S.-based private foundation established by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, has announced grants totaling $438,000 to four nonprofits providing support services to patients, healthcare workers, and families impacted by COVID-19. Recipients include the American Kidney Fund's Coronavirus Emergency Fund, which received $150,000 to provide financial assistance to low-income dialysis and post-transplant patients who are struggling to pay for essentials; the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Mental Health America; and Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and its foundation have announced contributions totaling $150,000 to nonprofits in northern and central California working to address food insecurity among vulnerable senior citizens during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Part of a $1 million commitment announced in March, the grants will support fifteen organizations, including Meals on Wheels.

The PepsiCo Foundation has announced a $50,000 contribution in support of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina's 2020 Stop Summer Hunger Program. According to the foundation, the public health emergency has negatively affected access to food and other essentials in communities across the country, including twenty-two million students who received low-cost or free meals via the National School Lunch program before schools were closed. PepsiCo and its foundation previously announced commitments of more than $50 million to help provide meals for vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19, PPE for healthcare workers, and testing and screening services.

Regions Foundation, an Alabama-based nonprofit initiative of Regions Bank, has announced grants totaling $260,000 as part of the bank and foundation's $5 million commitment to COVID-19 relief efforts. Ten nonprofits assisting small businesses impacted by the coronavirus, including Business and Community Lenders of Texas, Neighborhood Concepts, Inc. – North Alabama Revolving Loan Fund, and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, will receive grants.

The St. Louis-based Reinsurance Group of America has announced that the RGA Foundation has awarded grants totaling $1.5 million in support of global COVID-19 relief efforts. Recipients include Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, the SSM Health Foundation – St. Louis Urgent Response Fund, the American Red Cross, and the St. Louis Community Foundation's Gateway Resilience Fund and COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. The foundation also is matching employee donations to nonprofits helping those directly impacted by the pandemic.

Ross Stores and the Ross Stores Foundation have announced a joint commitment of $1.5 million in support of local and national nonprofits providing essential COVID-19 relief services, including educational resources for students, support services for families of first responders, and PPE for healthcare workers. Grant recipients include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, First Book, and food banks in New York City and California.

SunCoast Credit Union in Tampa has announced a $1 million commitment — the largest in its eighty-six-year history — in support of relief efforts in the communities where it operates. To be awarded through the SunCoast Credit Union Foundation, the grants will support local nonprofits working in the areas of health care, food insecurity, and education.

Based in Toronto and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, TD Bank Group has announced an initial commitment of $25 million to the TD Community Resilience Initiative. The commitment includes a pledge of $13 million to help meet the immediate, short-term needs of current TD grantees; community initiatives designed to support individuals' financial security, including income stability and affordable housing; and $2 million in support of frontline healthcare workers and community health centers in Canada. Another $2 million will fund a matching- employee-donation program for COVID-19 relief efforts, while $10 million awarded through the bank's annual grantmaking program will support innovative recovery efforts.

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has announced a $5 million contribution from the Texas Instruments Foundation in support of COVID-19 relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in North Texas. The gift brings to over $11.6 million the total United Way Metropolitan Dallas has raised to address immediate and long-term needs in the areas of education, income security, and health outcomes — $2.9 million of which was awarded to more than two hundred community-based organizations.

Small business software maker Thryv has announced a third round of grants through its foundation's Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program. Grants of between $2,500 and $15,000 were awarded to small businesses struggling to survive in the face of the public health emergency, including Girl Contracting (Philadelphia), Kathy Mays Lakeview Café (Huntington Beach, California), and Taylor's Tacos (Chicago).

The farmer-owners of Tillamook County Creamery Association in Oregon have announced a $4 million relief plan to help employees, communities, and industry partners respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. As part of the effort, the company will significantly increase its direct-to-community product donations and grants in support of nonprofits and community organizations. Grant recipients include the Oregon Food Bank ($200,000), the Oregon Community Foundation ($100,000), Tillamook County Action Resource Enterprises, Inc. ($20,000), the Tillamook County Wellness program ($15,000), the Tillamook Early Learning Center ($10,000), and the Oregon State University Foundation ($5,000).

And the United Health Foundation has announced a $500,000 grant to University of Chicago Medicine in support of expanded COVID-19 testing in underserved communities. Part of the foundation's $70 million commitment to address the impacts of COVID-19, the grant will be used by UChicago Medicine and South Side Healthcare Collaborative clinics and community hospitals to test up to a thousand residents a day on the South Side, one of the hardest-hit areas in the city, and provide personal protective equipment and contact tracing training for clinical staff.

Verizon has announced a $2.5 million grant to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to assist small business owners impacted by the coronavirus. In the third round of funding awarded through LISC's Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund, two hundred and twenty-five small business owners across the United States received grants of $10,000 to help them cover wages, rent, and other immediate operational costs. With its latest donation, Verizon has given a total of $7.5 million to the fund. The company also announced a $1 million donation to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund in support of efforts to organize and coordinate resources aimed at mitigating the medical, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 on the state's most vulnerable communities.

The Visa Foundation has announced grants totaling $8.8 million in support of global COVID-19 relief efforts from a $10 million fund announced in April, including $1 million for hunger relief in the United States and Canada. Recipients include the American Red Cross, the Asia Foundation, Children's Aid, Direct Relief, Feeding America, Food Banks Canada, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, and UNICEF.

And Phoenix-based Western Alliance Bank has committed $2 million to address the impacts of COVID-19 in communities where it operates and strengthen their resilience to future disasters. The funds will address shortages of PPE for first responders, food insecurity, and tech-related online learning needs, as well as provide support for small businesses, pediatric care, and the most vulnerable populations in the region

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"Akamai Foundation Announces Global COVID-19 Charitable Giving." Akamai Foundation Press Release 05/06/2020.

"Amazon Donates $3.9 Million to CodeVA to Expand Computer Science Education for 500,000 Students and Training for 12,000 Teachers." Amazon Press Release 04/28/2020.

"Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Directs $260,000 to Address Ohio Food Insecurity in Response to COVID-19." Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Press Release 04/30/2020.

"Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Commits $1.9 Million to Virginia Charities as Part of Coordinated Response to COVID-19." Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Press Release 01/18/2038.

"Avista Foundation Provides Funding to Area Food Banks and United Way." Avista Foundation Press Release 04/27/2020.

"The Avon Foundation for Women Issues $1 Million to Frontline Domestic Abuse Services." Avon Foundation for Women Press Release 05/05/2020.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Contributes $1.1 Million to Support Communities During Covid-19 Pandemic." Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Press Release 04/29/2020.

"Booz Allen Foundation Launches $1M Innovation Fund to Support COVID-19 Solutions." Booz Allen Foundation Press Release 04/30/2020.

"Cambia Health Foundation Commits $3 Million To Address COVID-19 Immediate Impacts." Cambia Health Foundation Press Release 05/05/2020.

"Catalyst Housing Group Launches Nonprofit Housing Fund Targeting Marin County Teachers." Catalyst Housing Group Press Release 05/05/2020.

"First Responders Children’s Foundation Receives $1 Million From Cisco Systems to Support Financial Grants for First Responders on the Front Lines." First Responders Children's Foundation Press Release 05/05/2020.

"Duke Energy Foundation Provides Funds to Indiana K-12 Education Organizations During COVID-19 Crisis." Duke Energy Foundation Press Release 04/29/2020.

"Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation and First Descents Launch First-of-its-Kind Program Supporting Healthcare Professionals With Traumatic Stress from COVID-19." Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation Press Release 05/05/2020.

"Emergen-C® Looks Toward a Time When We Can “Emerge Our Best” and Supports Health Workers in Need With New Campaign." Emergen-C Press Release 04/30/2020.

"Entergy Commits US$1.3 Million for COVID-19 Relief." Entergy Press Release 04/23/2020.

"Angel Soft® Rolls Out Partnership with #GiveTogetherNow to Help Families Impacted by COVID-19." Georgia Pacific Press Release 05/04/2020.

"The Angel Soft® Brand Pledges Up to $2 Million to #GiveTogetherNow Initiative Providing Direct Financial Relief to Families Impacted by COVID-19." Georgia Pacific Press Release 05/04/2020.

"Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief to Support HIV/AIDS and Service Organizations." Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Press Release 05/06/2020.

"Hancock Whitney Pledges $2.5 Million Investment in COVID-19 Community Relief." Hancock Whitney Press Release 04/29/2020.

"Intercontinental Exchange Commits $10 Million to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts Around the World." Intercontinental Exchange Press Release 04/29/2020.

"Intouch Group Announces Anti-COVID-19 Partnership with Nonprofit Heart to Heart International." Intouch Group Press Release 05/06/2020.

"Mary Kay Inc. Commits Nearly $10 Million to Global COVID-19 Support." Mary Kay Press Release 04/29/2020.

"'Westchester Strong with Healthcare Heroes' Strengthens Local COVID-19 Response and Recovery." Mastercard and PepsiCo Press Release 05/04/2020.

"Northern Trust Provides $100 million in Small Business Support." Northern Trust Corporation Press Release 05/11/2020.

"Northwestern Mutual Commits More Than $200,000 to Children's Wisconsin for COVID-19 Relief." Northwestern Mutual Press Release 04/30/2020.

"Sozosei Foundation Announces Donations of $439,000 to Support Those With Mental Health and Kidney Diseases." Sozosei Foundation Press Release 04/23/2020.

"Sozosei Foundation Donates $150,000 to American Kidney Fund Coronavirus Emergency Fund for Low-Income Dialysis and Transplant Patients." American Kidney Fund Press Release 04/27/2020.

"The PepsiCo Foundation Announces Grant to North Carolina Food Bank." PepsiCo Press Release 05/06/2020.

"PG&E and The PG&E Corporation Foundation Contribute $150,000 to Organizations Providing Meals for Vulnerable Seniors During COVID-19." PG&E Press Release 04/28/2020.

"Regions Foundation Announces Additional Grants for CDFIs and Community Organizations Supporting Small Businesses." Regions Foundation Press Release 05/11/2020.

"RGA Foundation Commits $1.5 Million to Support COVID-19 Response." Reinsurance Group of America Press Release 04/30/2020.

"Ross Stores Donates $1,500,000 to COVID-19 Relief Efforts." Ross Stores Press Release 04/24/2020.

"SunCoast Credit Union Supports Coronavirus Relief Efforts With $1 Million Contribution." SunCoast Credit Union Press Release 05/04/2020.

"The TD Community Resilience Initiative Allocates $25 Million to Organizations Engaged In COVID-19 Response and Community Recovery." TD Bank Group Press Release 04/29/2020.

"Texas Instruments Foundation Donates $5 Million to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas." United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Press Release 05/04/2020.

"Thryv Small Business Foundation Wires Third Round of Grant Money to Recipients of Its Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program." Thryv Press Release 05/04/2020.

"Thryv Foundation Delivers Third Round of Grants For Businesses in Need." Thryv Blog Post 05/04/2020.

"Extraordinary Challenges Require Extraordinary Responses." Tillamook County Creamery Association Press Release 05/08/2020.

"United Health Foundation Donates $500,000 to University of Chicago Medicine to Support Expanded COVID-19 Testing in Underserved Communities." United Health Foundation Press Release 04/28/2020.

"'Light at the End of the Tunnel': LISC & Verizon Announce First Recipients of Small Business Grants." Local Initiatives Support Corporation Press Release 04/30/2020.

"Verizon Expands COVID-19 Small Business Support Up to $7.5M With New Grant to LISC." Verizon Press Release 04/30/2020.

"Verizon Donates $1 Million to New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund." Verizon Press Release 05/08/2020.

"The Visa Foundation Announces Grantees to Support COVID-19 Recovery in U.S. and Canada." Visa Foundation Press Release 05/12/2020.

"The Visa Foundation Commits to COVID-19 Recovery." Visa Foundation Press Release 05/12/2020.

"Western Alliance Bank Announces $2 Million Donation to Strengthen, Protect Communities Impacted by COVID-19." Western Alliance Bank Press Release 05/11/2020.

5 Questions for...Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund

April 29, 2020

Ellen Dorsey has served since 2008 as the executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, where she helped launch Divest-Invest Philanthropy, a coalition of more than two hundred foundations that have pledged to divest their portfolios of fossil fuel companies and deploy their investments to accelerate the clean energy transition. Dorsey and Divest-Invest Philanthropy signatories were awarded the 2016 inaugural Nelson Mandela – Graca Machel Brave Philanthropy Award.

Earlier this month, the fund announced that it would pay out 20 percent of its endowment this year in support of COVID-19 relief and ongoing systemic change efforts and called on other funders to increase their grantmaking. 

PND spoke with Dorsey about the fund's decision-making process, the moral obligations of foundations in a time of crisis, and the longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dorsey_EllenPhilanthropy News Digest: What was the impetus behind the fund's decision to commit 20 percent of the endowment to grantmaking in 2020, and how did you and the board arrive at that amount? 

Ellen Dorsey: We have said for a while now that philanthropy cannot engage in business as usual, either by failing to align our investments with our missions or not giving at a level commensurate with the seriousness of the many challenges we face. Before COVID-19, we were already calling for philanthropy to declare a climate emergency and increase giving levels over the next ten years. COVID-19 was yet another overlapping shockwave added to the list of threats that compounded our sense of urgency.  

For too long, philanthropy has been content to give the bare minimum — the 5 percent required by law — while growing its endowments. Even before COVID-19, the Wallace Global Fund felt it was unethical for any foundation to grow its endowment during a five-alarm fire, particularly given the many financial and logistical challenges faced by our grantees. 

As for the percentage decision, it happened organically. We were already planning to spend a significant percentage of our endowment this year on critical work being done within our core priority areas, and we invested 100 percent of our stock market gains — close to 22 percent — in 2018. Keeping our investments aligned with our mission is something that has long been a board priority. We see this as consistent with the legacy of our founding donor, former U.S. Vice President Henry A. Wallace, and his warning that democracies must put people before profits if they plan to survive. 

PND: In a joint opinion piece with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Aaron Dorfman, you argued that "it is no time for philanthropy to think about cutting back...[instead, it should] give more to address the public-health crisis while continuing to fund existing social and systemic change efforts." You've said elsewhere that preserving foundation endowments instead of boosting granmaking was "both immoral and a failure to honor the mandate that foundations have to serve society." Have you received any pushback from CEOs at other foundations? And do you think philanthropy will take this "opportunity to fundamentally rethink past practices and upend the status quo," especially with respect to the mandatory 5 percent payout requirement?

ED: Ultimately, it's an empirical question. We will see. Right now, many foundations are stepping up and making significant pledges to address COVID-19 and the related economic crisis. Will enhanced giving continue as the reality of reduced endowments sinks in later this year and persists into 2021? The fallout of COVID-19, coupled with the spiraling climate catastrophe, requires dramatically more funding, not less. We have a decade to fundamentally reduce emissions and change the energy base of our global economy while creating more sustainable and equitable systems.

What we need from philanthropy goes beyond simply spending more. Frankly, if ever there was a time to fund system change work, it is now. We need to break the corporate capture of democracy, create new patterns of ownership, change the growth-only measures of economic and societal success, level patterns of inequality, and meet the basic human needs of billions, all while reversing the climate catastrophe barreling down on humanity. Philanthropy needs to support movements that are advancing new paradigms, support systemic theories of change that confront our unjust system, and invest its money in a way that is consistent with these values.

PND: As you've acknowledged, some foundations have taken steps to provide more — and more flexible — support for nonprofits, while more than seven hundred foundations have signed on to the Council on Foundationspledge to do so. Are we seeing a shift among foundations toward more grantee-centered practices? Or will things revert to the status quo after we get to the other side of this crisis?

ED: History shows that there is a tendency among philanthropy to scale back when times get tough. For example, in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, philanthropic grantmaking dropped by 15 percent. We've been really encouraged to see the groundswell of statements calling for philanthropy to use this moment to break that bad habit. It is particularly important given the unique vulnerabilities faced by nonprofits, movements, and the communities they serve. 

It is hard to say right now whether the status quo will fully return in any sector, but I will say that philanthropy has an obligation to resist it. Getting rid of COVID-19 will do nothing to stop the dire consequences we were already facing as the result of a number of threats, most notably climate change. In fact, if society returns to its established habits of emitting more carbon into the atmosphere, damaging or destroying ecological habitats, and giving corporations free rein to pursue the myth of limitless economic growth, the consequences of climate change will only continue to worsen.

The same could also be said for economic inequality, the rising privatization of public resources around the world, gender-based violence in the Global South, and the rise in misogyny faced by women around the world. There is no vaccine for social injustice. We cannot allow ourselves to be so relieved once the COVID-19 crisis has passed that we ignore the fissures in society it has exposed. Philanthropy has both an opportunity and a duty to partner with people-centered movements that are fighting for systems change and broad, structural reform today, and we must continue to support them in the aftermath of this pandemic. 

PND: This is not the first time the Wallace Global Fund has used its investment portfolio to boost the impact of its grantmaking; in 2018, the fund pledged to invest all its gains from the previous year into organizations working to advance social and environmental justice. Have you seen tangible returns on those investments?

ED: Yes, without a question. We have already seen positive impacts from our funding and there are results to come that we cannot yet see. We fund progressive social movements and systemic change work both globally and in the U.S. We believe building people power is the necessary ingredient to challenging entrenched economic and political interests. We have been funding the fossil fuel divestment movement for over a decade and, to date, there are more than a thousand institutions  around the globe that have divested — institutions with a combined $14 trillion under management. We have funded the youth climate movement, the so-called climate strikers, and those calling for a Green New Deal. They are changing the debate on climate in truly significant ways. We're also supporting groups around the world that are challenging authoritarian governments and defending basic human rights.  

Often those fights seem insurmountable, but defending the front lines is often the only antibody to the virus of authoritarianism and is essential if we are to preserve our democratic ideals and way of life. In the U.S., our grantees are working to transform conditions of inequality, defend democratic institutions, get toxic money out of our political system, and break up monopolies. These are big and audacious goals, not easy to measure in the near term, but they absolutely are critical in terms of the system change work we need. I think it's fair to say we would rather invest in deep change than obsess about lowest-common-denominator metrics. 

PND: What, if anything, do the systemic social change efforts you've urged your philanthropic peers to support — climate action, defending the rights of marginalized populations, strengthening civil society and democracy — have to do with the public health and economic emergencies caused by COVID-19?

ED: It's true that all those issues were issues before COVID-19. For example, we know that seven hundred people a day were dying from poverty in the U.S. before the virus ever reached our shores. But COVID-19 has laid bare the many ways in which it is not the great equalizer many claim it is.

Communities of color have been disproportionately devastated by the virus. Places with higher levels of carbon-based pollution are seeing corresponding spikes in death rates. Voting rights are under increasing threat from a lack of contingency planning and stalled efforts to expand vote-by-mail nationally. And as millions of small businesses were forced to close their doors — many for the last time — American billionaires made more than $300 billion.

These injustices are all interconnected. One of the movement leaders who inspires me most, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II of the Poor People's Campaign, has built a movement on the simple yet profound notion that the struggles against systemic racism, inadequate health care, poverty, voter suppression, ecological devastation, environmental injustice, and human rights abuses are not separate struggles at all. We are dependent on each other in our quest for liberation, and our narratives must be bound together if we hope to win.

— Kyoko Uchida

Philanthropy's Moment: Advocating for and Funding What's Essential

April 14, 2020

5710857_origAs history has shown, crises can present moments of opportunity for bold action while also creating new perspectives and priorities. This is one of those moments for philanthropy.

Right now, what matters most is to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. If we fail to do that, we run the risk of overwhelming our health systems and putting additional pressure on frontline responders, direct service providers, and other critical organizations and systems.

That is why we, as a nation, need to expand the definition of who is "essential" to include nonprofit service providers — and why philanthropy needs to step up and take action, with both its dollars and influence, immediately. Countless lives, and our future, are at stake.

What is essential?

The answer to that question is food, shelter, and staying safe — basic needs most of us take for granted. These are now the first line of defense against the virus. And while that's true for everyone, it's especially true for the most vulnerable in society, who were already facing daily challenges before the emergence of COVID-19. With current shelter-in-place policies, these challenges could quickly become devastating outcomes.

Right now in Massachusetts, where I am sheltering in place, nonprofit service providers large and small are scrambling to figure out how they can protect our state's most vulnerable people and populations. Many of them — such as food banks and homeless shelters — are trying to address supply chain and distribution challenges. Others are working to solve access problems.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

For years, Boston Cares — the largest volunteer agency in New England — has been filling more than twenty-five thousand volunteer spots annually in support of nonprofit agencies in the greater Boston area. As the coronavirus crisis began to unfold, the organization changed its programming to create new opportunities for volunteering and to train volunteers virtually.

Next, the organization partnered with Boston Public Schools — a district in which 78 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches — to implement a citywide distribution of free breakfast and lunch for fifty-four thousand students at risk of going hungry while schools in the district are closed. It's essential that this partnership continue for as long as it takes for the crisis to play out.

The work of the Justice Resource Institute also is essential. JRI provides foster care to about five hundred kids on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. But it also serves another twenty thousand families by keeping the kids in those homes safe. These days, COVID-19 has forced the suspension of home visits, and so the organization has had to shift to telephone appointments, which makes it much more difficult to assess the risks kids might face in a home.

Many of these kids suffer from mental health problems and are living in potentially risky environments. Without JRI's continued support, things might happen to these kids that normally would have been prevented. What if one of these kids gets hurt or is subjected to violence? If that child makes it to a hospital, what will caregivers there do? What are they able to do? Hospitals are already functioning at near capacity, and emergency rooms are finding it necessary to implement triage protocols that end up with some people being turned away. The last thing our hospitals need is an influx of kids who aren't suffering from COVID-19 but instead are the collateral damage of a broken social services system.

The solutions to these and countless other COVID-related impacts require money — and this is not a time for essential  nonprofit service providers to be worrying about money. That's where philanthropy comes in. I urge all foundations to communicate to their grantees that you are committed to maintaining your funding for an extended period of time and will even tap your endowments to provide support for frontline responders and direct service providers.

Philanthropy also should use whatever influence it has with state and municipal governments to ensure that contract funding continues to flow.

In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker issued an executive order on March 30 urging the state's Department of Health and Human Services to "extend financial relief," including "supplemental payments," to all nonprofit health and human service providers in the state and to pay out state monies to these organizations "that reflect the modified ways services are being delivered." Sure, it's a lot of legalese, but the bottom line could not be clearer: in this time of "extraordinary demand" and reduced revenues, "providers that are necessary to keep vulnerable individuals safe in their homes or residences and out of more acute settings like hospitals" deserve our support.

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed in stark ways what is truly essential. As we go through this crisis together, ideas about need and what is important are sure to change. Undoubtedly, we'll also begin to realize that the most vulnerable in society have needs beyond food and shelter — that go beyond ensuring mere survival and, instead, speak to what people who are desperate to build lives of security and fulfillment require.

In this anxious and uncertain time, we have an opportunity, as a society, to establish some new priorities. Although it might not always be obvious, we have the collective imagination and wherewithal to create genuine progress for people across the United States. A newly committed and energized philanthropy is crucial to that future.

Headshot_Andrew WolkAndrew Wolk is the CEO of Root Cause, a Boston-based nonprofit consulting firm, and produces the blog and podcast Finding Common Purpose.

Foundations Step Up Funding for COVID-19 Response Efforts (April 1-11, 2020)

April 11, 2020

COVID19As COVID-19 spreads globally and in the United States, private foundations are stepping up with funding to meet the immediate needs of individuals and vulnerable populations impacted by the virus. The "quick-hit" roundup below captures some of the foundation activity in response to COVID-19 over the last two weeks. Items are sorted in alpha order, by state and, within states, by foundation name.

For more coverage, check out PND's COVID-19 page and Candid's COVID-19 popup page.

CALIFORNIA

Akonadi Foundation, Oakland, CA | $1 Million

The Akonadi Foundation has announced it will allocate $1 million from its endowment to make grants to people-of-color-led organizations and initiatives in Oakland responding to communities impacted by COVID-19. With the public health crisis highlighting racialized inequities nationwide, the foundation has re-launched its So Love Can Win Fund — originally launched in 2016 with the aim of seeding a vision of a safe, healed, and racially just Oakland — to provide one-time rapid response grants of up to $10,000 to meet emerging community demands and/or help organizations cover their revenue losses.

Eisner Foundation, Los Angeles, CA | $500,000

The Eisner Foundation has committed $500,000 to create a Rapid Response grant program that will award grants to nonprofits helping older adults combat social isolation in Los Angeles County. One-year grants ranging from $5,000 to 50,000 will support technological or logistical solutions that enable organizations to adapt quickly now and have better infrastructure in place for their long-term work. Priority will be given to intergenerational solutions as well as current or recent grantees.

Heising-Simons Foundation, Los Altos, CA | $2 Million

The University of California, San Francisco has announced a $2 million grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to establish a COVID Response Initiative at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), a public hospital operated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and a UCSF partner. The grant will enable physicians and trainees to better triage and treat COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization and create appropriate care plans for individuals who do not. The grant also will support COVID-19 screening and on-site testing at ZSFG and help provide personal protective equipment for nurses, respiratory technicians, and physicians.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Agoura Hills, CA | $10 Million

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has announced grants totaling $10 million in support of efforts to protect the homeless population in Los Angeles from COVID-19 and help African countries prepare for an outbreak. Grants include $2.25 million to Brilliant Corners in support of a partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; $500,000 to the California Community Foundation; $2.25 million to United Way of Greater Los Angeles; $500,000 to Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO); $3 million to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa; and $1.5 million to UNICEF.

James Irvine Foundation, San Francisco, CA| $22 Million

The James Irvine Foundation has announced commitments totaling $22 million aimed at helping grantees weather the economic storm caused by mandatory lockdowns related to the spread of COVID-19. As part of its Recession Resilience Project, the foundation will provide $20 million in immediate emergency funding to grantees of the foundation's Better Careers, Fair Work, and Priority Regions initiatives working to protect and advance the prospects of low-wage workers, and approximately $2 million to help other grassroots organizations in California weather the public health emergency. The foundation also plans to relax and/or renegotiate restrictions on current grants; reduce restrictions on the use of new grants; postpone or eliminate other requests it makes of grantees, including site visits and progress reports; and continue its efforts to listen to and work with its grantees and the communities they serve.

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Nonprofits and COVID-19: No Money – No Mission

April 09, 2020

Foodbank_feeding_americaWith more than 12.5 million employees and over 1.3 million organizations, the nonprofit sector is the third largest private-sector employer in the United States, after retail and manufacturing. Nonprofits touch the lives of one in five Americans, helping to feed, heal, shelter, educate, nurture, and inspire them. 

Over the last month or so, however, COVID-19 has laid bare the reality of the nonprofit mantra "No Money – No Mission." In our current volatile environment, some nonprofits will thrive, some will be forced to close, and some — with the help of smart, speedy planning — will survive.  

Nonprofits on the front lines of the coronavirus response, including nonprofit hospitals, social service providers, and food banks, need immediate funds to scale their operations. The good news is that many of these nonprofits will come out of the crisis stronger than ever. 

Other nonprofits are at real risk. Smaller, local nonprofits that have meager or nonexistent reserves are already feeling the strain — especially museums, performing arts groups, botanical gardens, and other cultural organizations that depend on ticket sales and walk-in donations for revenue. Meanwhile, nonprofits that rely on galas, special dinners, and events such as walkathons, bikeathons, "mudfests," and other large-scale gatherings are in trouble. 

Even before the emergence and spread of COVID-19, the situation for most nonprofits was fairly dire. In 2019, the vast majority (92 percent) of nonprofits in the U.S. had revenues of less than $1 million, while approximately half (50 percent) had operating reserves of less than a month. These small and often local nonprofits are especially vulnerable to the lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders that have been imposed by governors and mayors across the country — and the deep recession  likely headed our way.

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Corporations Ramp Up Support for COVID-19 Response Efforts (March 16-31, 2020)

April 05, 2020

COVID-19As COVID-19 spreads globally and in the United States, corporations and their foundations are stepping up with funding to meet the needs of individuals and vulnerable populations impacted by the virus. The "quick-hit" roundup below captures some of the corporate activity in response to COVID-19 over the last two weeks. (In many cases, larger gifts have been covered separately as part of PND's daily news feed.) Items are sorted in alpha order by company name. 

For more coverage, check out PND's COVID-19 page and Candid's COVID-19 popup page.

The AmerisourceBergen Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, has announced a $1 million commitment in support of communities, individuals, and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. Grant recipients include Direct Relief ($250,000), AmeriCares ($250,000), and Healthcare Ready ($150,000). The foundation also announced that it will provide a 2:1 match for employee donations to those organizations as well as the AmerisourceBergen Associate Assistance Fund.

Amgen and the Amgen Foundation have announced an initial commitment of up to $12.5 million in support of U.S. and global relief efforts to address critical needs in communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds will be used to support emergency response efforts in communities where Amgen operates, patient-focused organizations that are mounting their own response efforts, and international relief efforts led by Direct Relief and International Medical Corps; in addition, the Amgen Foundation will match donations by Amgen employees for relief efforts.

AT&T has launched a $10 million Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund with a $1 million grant to Khan Academy in support of the organization's efforts to expand existing online learning resources and develop new resources specifically designed to address school closures. The fund also will provide resources in support of efforts to maintain meaningful connections for those isolated from family and friends.

Sustainable energy company AVANGRID and the Avangrid Foundation in Orange, Connecticut, have announced commitments totaling $2 million in support of nonprofits working to address the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities in the company's service area. To that end, the company will provide $1 million for emergency needs, while the foundation will award $1 million in emergency response funding to its partners nationwide.

Bacardi Limited — in collaboration with Another Round, Another Rally, the James Beard Foundation, and the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation — has launched a $3 million initiative to provide bars and bartenders impacted by COVID-19-related shutdowns.

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Private Foundations Step Up Funding for COVID-19 Response Efforts (March 15-31, 2020)

April 01, 2020

Coronavirus covid 19 shutterstock_1656821971As COVID-19 spreads globally and in the United States, private foundations are stepping up with funding to meet the immediate needs of individuals and vulnerable populations impacted by the virus. The "quick-hit" roundup below captures some of the foundation activity in response to COVID-19 over the last two weeks. Items are sorted in alpha order, by state and, within states, by foundation name. 

For more coverage, check out PND's COVID-19 page and Candid's COVID-19 popup page.

ARIZONA

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Phoenix, AZ | $6.3 Million

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has announced emergency grants totaling $6.3 million to science, human services, and arts and culture nonprofits in Maricopa County. The foundation awarded a $2 million grant to Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute to expand automated, rapid diagnostic testing aimed at mitigating the spread and potential reoccurrence of COVID-19; grants totaling more than $2 million to twenty-eight human services providers facing a significant increase in demand for their services; and grants totaling $2.2 million to forty-four arts and cultural nonprofits facing significant losses of revenue from event cancellations and a drop off in donations.

CALIFORNIA

California Wellness Foundation, Los Angeles, CA | $4 Million

The California Wellness Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $3 million in support of vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19 — including frontline health workers, economically disadvantaged individuals and groups, immigrants, seniors, and Asian Americans experiencing race-based harassment and assaults — as well as select grantees who are experiencing significant disruptions to their work. Cal Wellness also said it will commit another $1 million in support of community clinics and the associations that advocate for them.

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Redwood City, CA | $5 Million

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced commitments totaling $5 million to nonprofits and public health agencies responding to the spread of COVID-19 in San Mateo County, where CZI is based, and the wider Bay Area. Commitments include $1 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's COVID-19 Regional Response Fund in support of organizations providing critical services such as emergency rental and food assistance; support for a partnership between the Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation and Contra Costa Health Services focused on establishing a mobile testing site for first responders and healthcare workers and expanding mobile testing and screening more broadly; a donation of eight hundred WiFi hotspots to the Redwood City and Ravenswood City school districts in support of at-home learning; and creation of a regional COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to provide local community-based organizations with timely, flexible funding in support of their efforts to address emerging needs in the region.

William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, Laguna Beach, CA | $1.5 Million

The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation has announced grants totaling $1.5 million to organizations working to address the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern California communities. The foundation awarded grants of $250,000 to the OC Food Bank and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and grants of $200,000 to the National Domestic Workers Alliance's Coronavirus Care FundWorld Central Kitchen, the Recording Academy's MusiCares safety-net program, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation.

Hellman, Crankstart, Stupski Foundations, San Francisco, CA| $2 Million

The Hellman Foundation has contributed $1 million and the Crankstart Foundation and Stupski Foundation have given $500,000 each to San Francisco's Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The fund, which also received donations from Ann and Gordon Getty ($1 million), Mark Pincus ($100,000), Tom and Theresa Preston-Werner ($250,000), Kyle Vogt and Dan Kan ($100,000), Salesforce ($1.5 million), and Wells Fargo ($150,000), will provide assistance in three priority areas: food security; access to housing; and security for workers and small businesses.

Milner Foundation, Silicon Valley, CA | $3 Million

The Milner Foundation has awarded grants totaling $3 million to three Israeli institutions in support of COVID-19 response and research efforts. The recipients are Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency medical response organization, in support of efforts to reduce the number of people coming to clinics; Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, in support of research aimed at developing treatments for coronavirus; and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center – Ichilov Hospital, in support of the intensive care unit caring for COVID-19 patients.

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Global Philanthropic Response to COVID-19 Approaches $3 Billion

March 31, 2020

On March 3, Candid identified almost $1 billion in pledges and donations in support of global relief efforts focused on mitigating the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In the weeks since, the virus has infected 719,758 people worldwide and resulted in the deaths of more than 33,673. As the relatively localized outbreak in Wuhan, China, rapidly morphed into a global pandemic, the philanthropic community stepped up to meet the challenge, with pledges and donations in support of relief efforts almost tripling, to $2.6 billion, by March 23.

As was the case during the first two months of the crisis, overall giving for COVID-19 relief in March mirrored historical patterns of disaster giving in every way except total dollar amount (i.e., giving in response to COVID-19 has been much higher). What has changed over the last couple of weeks is funding by country, which has closely tracked migration of the disease.

Fig.1.1Together, the United States and China (including Hong Kong and Macao, China’s Special Administrative Regions) continue to account for 87 percent of pledges and 83 percent of total dollar amount, but the U.S. total has increased almost 700 percent since March 3 and now accounts for more than two-thirds of pledges and almost half the dollars pledged globally for COVID-19 relief. Italy, where the philanthropic response was almost nonexistent two weeks ago, now accounts for 11 percent of total dollar value.

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Funders Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 06, 2020

On the last day of 2019, China advised the World Health Organization that some people in the city of Wuhan (Hubei province) were infected with an unknown strain of viral pneumonia.  Those infected were traced back to the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. On January 7, Chinese officials announced that they had identified a new virus belonging to the coronavirus family, which was dubbed novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Since then, the renamed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has killed more than 3,000 people, infected over 100,000 in at least 60 countries, and is present on every continent except Antarctica.

Candid has been closely tracking the global private philanthropic response to COVID-19 through news stories and other publicly available resources. Although the response to the virus has followed a familiar pattern, both in terms of funders and recipients, its scope has dwarfed funding for recent natural disasters in the United States and elsewhere. Since September 2017, Candid has identified pledges and donations for eight major hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires totaling more than $898 million; philanthropic funding announced in the last five weeks for COVID-19 alone has reached $980 million. [Ed. note: as of March 4, the figure had exceeded $1 billion.]

Fig.1.1 funding-for-recent-disasters

Obviously, epidemics and pandemics are not natural disasters, so if we want to compare funding for the COVID-19 response to a similar event, we have to go back to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In that situation, Candid identified pledges and donations totaling more than $363 million over a period of six months, which is only a third of the COVID-19 response to date.

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Losing the Red Cross Would Be the Real Disaster

January 23, 2020

Red cross(Ed note: this post originally was published on PhilanTopic in November 2014 and is being republished as criticism of the Australian Red Cross for allegedly holding back donations for bushfire victims mounts.) 

As a disaster researcher and scholar of nonprofit management, I've followed the (well publicized) travails and (hardly publicized) successes of the American Red Cross over the years.

I've met its national staff at research conferences and local staff at state and county emergency management meetings, where I've served on the board of my local Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD). I participated with hundreds of other invited experts in the governance audit that resulted in the "American National Red Cross Governance Modernization Act of 2007." I’ve monitored the commentary after a ProPublica/National Public Radio exposé of the Red Cross appeared last week. And based on my observations, I have developed a healthy respect and sympathy for the Red Cross.

Bet you didn't see that coming.

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Notre-Dame de Paris: What Can Philanthropy Learn?

April 30, 2019

AP_France_Notre_Dame_FireLike most people who have lived or spent time in Paris, I experienced a deep sadness that quickly turned to tears, anger, and confusion as the news flashed across social media that the great cathedral of Notre-Dame was burning. The blow to French identity, and the sense of loss for all of us who hold Paris dear, was and is profound.

Within days, my despair had given way to faint hope as I read news stories detailing pledges of more than €900 million from some of France's wealthiest families toward the reconstruction of the cathedral. But that hope soon gave way to feelings of guilt. Just weeks ago, Cyclone Idai smashed into southeastern Africa, leaving more than a thousand people dead and thousands more missing in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. It was a disaster of epic proportions that went largely unreported in the Western media and generated little in the way of disaster recovery funding. While I felt frustration at the contrast between the philanthropic response to the two events, I probably wasn’t as angry as I should have been. The fact I felt conflicted about what philanthropy could and was willing to do to save Notre-Dame versus the enormous challenge of mitigating human suffering and building peaceful societies, not just in Africa but around the world, has been haunting me ever since. And the juxtaposition of the two responses underscores a complex societal problem.

People's engagement with issues tends to be driven by their values and passions. Giving is shaped by the many different and connected parts of human psychology, and Notre-Dame was a classic example of giving driven by emotion (and, in the case of certain French billionaires, a healthy dose of ego). The fire was a blow to a collective French identity rooted in a distant, romanticized past, and the immediate outpouring of support for restoring the cathedral to its former glory was a way to stand in solidarity with that past and make oneself feel good in the bargain.

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Employee Pressure Will Help Redefine CSR in 2019

January 23, 2019

GlobeThis past year marked a turning point in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, with an increase of activism among corporate leaders and more pressure from employees urging employers to step up their philanthropic efforts. Early in the year, a piece I wrote for Blackbaud's CSR 2020: Experts Look Ahead examined trends at the intersection of employee engagement and community impact. At the time, I predicted there would be an increase in private-sector activity focused on social issues, especially as related to disaster recovery and resiliency, as well as a rise in CEO activism. Given the events of the past twelve months, it is safe to say those predictions not only proved true but have gained momentum.

Corporations as Activists

Just last month, 3BL Media and GlobeScan released survey results indicating that eight of ten corporate leaders believe companies are obligated to speak out on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. They also predict that, inspired by the examples of Patagonia (environmental sustainability), Microsoft (diversity and inclusion), Chobani (immigration and refugee rights), and others, more than 60 percent of CEOs will increase their ESG advocacy over the next eighteen months.

Last year, Larry Fink, who serves as CEO of BlackRock, one of the world's largest investment management firms, outlined a new model for corporate governance in his annual letter to shareholders. In his letter, Fink emphasized BlackRock's commitment to considering both financial and social performance in all its investments. As 2019 gets under way, we've also seen the mainstream business press question, in pieces in the Financial Times and Fortune, the Milton Friedman doctrine that places the maximization of shareholder value above all else. Why? While core corporate values and building brand equity certainly are factors, the main benefits cited in these and other articles are employee-focused. Respondents to the 3BL Media/GlobeScan survey believe their organizations should be motivated by a desire to demonstrate a commitment beyond profit and, in a tightening labor market, do what they can to meet the expectations of employees, who have more options to take their skills elsewhere than they’ve had in a long time.

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What's New at Foundation Center Update (November and December)

December 18, 2018

FC_logoDoes anyone feel like the end of the year is the busiest time of all? Not only is everyone swamped, but with so much happening in the world and in philanthropy, there's hardly any time to prioritize reflection, learning, and empathy. Here at Foundation Center, we're scrambling to finish this year's projects while also planning some exciting things for 2019.

This is a long update, but I guarantee there's something useful in it for everyone!

Projects Launched

  • In partnership with the Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative and Heising-Simons Foundation, we launched Funding for Early Childhood Care and Education, an interactive mapping tool that provides a valuable starting place for funders and practitioners interested in supporting the learning and development of young children across the country.
  • In partnership with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, we launched the fifth edition of Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy, as well as a revamped website with an updated dashboard. The new report includes a five-year (2012-2016) trends analysis, adding to the information available on disaster giving and enabling philanthropists, government agencies, and NGOs to better coordinate their efforts and make better decisions about support for effective disaster response and assistance. You can view all these resources at: disasterphilanthropy.foundationcenter.org.
  • We launched the Barr Foundation Knowledge Center, which features key learnings and work from the Barr Foundation and their partners aimed at maximizing impact in their issue areas and the field more generally. Powered by our IssueLab service, the collection includes publications and resources that are free to browse and download.
  • In partnership with Hispanics in Philanthropy and Seattle International Foundation, we released a new report, U.S. Foundation Funding for Latin America, 2014–2015. This two-year analysis updates seven years of collaborative research with a multiyear analysis designed to help civil society leaders identify long-term trends in the region and better target their resources. With additional analysis on Central America, the report was highlighted at the 2018 Central America Donors Forum in El Salvador.
  • We added a new feature on YouthGiving.org, Causes: Youth In Action! The new pages provide an in-depth look at how youth funders are approaching critical issues in the world today. And while there are lots of causes around which youth are energized, the new feature focuses on three to start — Environment, Immigration, and Mental Health — with each page showcasing current funding data, ways youth can get involved, and stories from youth highlighting their work to effect change.
  • We released new research in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that maps the composition of and support for the complex ecosystem of nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure organizations around the world.
  • We launched new dashboards on the Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy site, a nonpartisan data visualization platform for anyone interested in understanding philanthropy's role in funding U.S. democracy. With the new dashboards, the site now provides information on more than 57,000 grants awarded by over 6,000 funders totaling $5.1 billion across four major categories: campaigns and elections, civic participation, government strengthening, and media.

Content Published

Newsworthy Connections

  • In the wake of the midterm elections, we have seen a reinvigorated debate around the role of philanthropy in a democratic society. But what are funders actually doing to support democracy in the United States? At a time of increased scrutiny of foundations, our updated dashboards on Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy provide a measure of transparency and a partial answer to that question and complement the broader discussion about philanthropy's role in a democratic society. Learn more at democracy.foundationcenter.org.
  • Teleangé Thomas, director of Foundation Center Midwest, was tapped to moderate a televised interview with Anand Giridharadas, author of Winner Takes All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World at the City Club of Cleveland in October.

In the News

What We're Excited About

  • Shifting from presenting data to sharing insights. A great example is this blog post on PhilanTopic written by our own Anna Koob on the intersection of democracy funding and participatory grantmaking — both recent focuses of our work.
  • Our GrantCraft guide on participatory grantmaking guide has been downloaded more than 2,000 times since it was launched in October! We've also received a number of inquiries from funders interested in adopting the practice and are continuing to advance the conversation through blogs, conference sessions, and webinars.
  • If you haven't already, check out the series in PhilanTopic on current trends in philanthropy by Vice President of Research Larry McGill and our Knowledge Services colleagues Supriya Kumar and Anna Koob. The series touches on big picture trends as well as a few of our recent research projects.
  • Foundation Center has officially joined the United Philanthropy Forum, a network of more than seventy-five regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs). We’re excited about the exciting joint opportunities that lie ahead!
  • Foundation Center's annual Network Days conference for the center's Funding Information Network partners met the expectations of 93 percent of attendees and was attended by representatives of sixty-four of our partners, including a number from outside the U.S.

Services Spotlight

  • In October, we added 178,992 new grants to Foundation Maps, of which 4,665 were awarded to 2,269 organizations outside the United States. In November, we added 218,139 grants, of which 12,716 were awarded to 5,912 organizations outside the U.S.
  • Foundation Directory Online now includes more than 13 million grants. We've also made improvements to its search functionality and added more robust usage reports.
  • New data sharing partners: Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation; Boyd and Evelyn Mullen Charitable Foundation; Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation; C&A Foundation; Delta Air Lines Foundation; Fichtenbaum Charitable Foundation; New York Women's Foundation, Inc.; People's United Community Foundation, Inc.; People's United Community Foundation of Eastern Massachusetts, Inc.; Pohlad Family Foundation; and David And Claudia Reich Family Foundation. Tell your story through data so we can communicate philanthropy's contribution to making a better world — learn more about our eReporting program.
  • Thanks to a generous grant from Borealis Philanthropy, we added 97 eBooks to Foundation Center's collection, bringing the total number of eBooks available to the public to 179. Since mid-April, when the collection was first made available online, the most-viewed titles have been The Complete Book of Grant Writing: Learn to Write Grants Like a Professional and Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals. Check out our free eBooks today!

Data Spotlight

  • Since 2001, youth have made 101 grants totaling more than $475,000 in support of issues related to immigrants and refugees. YouthGiving.org's new cause page focused on immigration aims to help youth (and the adults who support them) to be more strategic in their work by highlighting quick facts and resources from organizations that work on these issues every day.
  • In terms of disaster assistance strategies, 42 percent of dollars awarded in 2016 supported response and relief efforts; 17 percent supported reconstruction and recovery efforts, with more than half of that awarded in support of efforts related to the Flint water crisis; 8 percent supported resilience measures; and 5 percent was allocated to disaster preparedness efforts. Learn more about these strategies and trends at disasterphilanthropy.foundationcenter.org.
  • Since 2011, Foundation Center has documented 57,000+ democracy-related grants. Of those, 11.5 percent totaling some $583 million were directed in support of campaigns, elections, and voting, including support for campaign finance reform, election administration, voter education, and voting access efforts.
  • Did you know funding for nonprofit infrastructure organizations averaged $70.4 million annually between 2004 and 2015? Learn more about the ecosystem of organizations working to support nonprofits, philanthropy, and civil society at infrastructure.foundationcenter.org.
  • Thirty-eight percent of the grant dollars awarded by U.S. foundations to Latin America went directly to recipient organizations in the region, while the rest was awarded to organizations located outside the region. Learn more about funding for Latin America here.
  • Youth have awarded more than $795,000 in support of the environment, including causes such as climate change, outdoor education, and animal welfare. Explore youthgiving.org/learn/causes/environment to learn more about why young people are taking action around the environment.
  • Since January 2018, Foundation Center has hosted more than 15,000 attendees at our in-person events at our five regional offices and registered nearly 30,000 folks for our online classes and self-paced e-learning courses. Check out our ongoing events calendar at GrantSpace. And browse our self-paced e-learning courses and other on-demand courses here.
  • Through our Ask Us chat service, Foundation Center staff have assisted with or answered more than 130,000 questions from the public on topics related to finding grants, fundraising, and nonprofit management.
  • Lastly, we completed custom data searches for the University of San Diego, Geneva Global, the Center for Evaluation Innovation, and the Educational Foundation of America.

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email! I'll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (November 2018)

December 02, 2018

Devastating wildfires in California, a freak early season snowstorm in the Northeast, and a blue wave that flipped control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Democrats' favor — November was at times harrowing and never less than surprising. Here on PhilanTopic, your favorite reads included new posts by John Mullaney, executive director of the Nord Family Foundation in Amherst, Ohio, and Jeanné L.L. Isler, vice president and chief engagement officer at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; three posts by Larry McGill, vice president of knowledge services at Foundation Center, from our ongoing "Current Trends in Philanthropy" series; and oldies but goodies by Thaler Pekar and Gasby Brown, as well as a group-authored post by Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, May Samali, Bernard Simonin, and Nada Zohdy. Enjoy!

What have you read/watched/heard lately that got your attention, made you think, or charged you up? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

Interested in writing for PND or PhilanTopic? We'd love to hear from you. Send a few lines about your idea/article/post to mfn@foundationcenter.org.

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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