$536M and Counting: Donors Across Country Rally to Support COVID-19 Relief
A diverse coalition of individuals, companies and foundations have rallied to mobilize $536.6 million to support community foundation-led COVID-19 relief efforts across the U.S.
That figure includes funds managed by more than 325 community foundations in all 50 states that have provided figures to the Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative.
Much of that money is already at work in communities, with more to come over the coming weeks.
To date, community foundations have granted nearly $175 million to nonprofits who are working to provide food, shelter and other basic needs; help schools purchase and distribute computers to students who would otherwise not be able to access distance learning programs; and offer a long list of other critical services.
The largest of these funds, The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, has already provided $44 million in grants and interest-free loans to 276 New York City-based social services and arts and cultural nonprofits affected by the coronavirus public health crisis, with additional funding to be announced in the coming weeks.
Foundations, individuals and companies have contributed more than $92 million to the fund to help the city that has been most adversely impacted by coronavirus.
In New Jersey, another COVID-19 hotspot, a statewide effort managed by the Community Foundation of New Jersey has generated more than $20 million to help those impacted. Of that total, nearly $2.9 million has been granted during the past two weeks.
“Market downturns can often have a negative impact on giving,” Hans Dekker, president of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, said. “But by combining the available resources in our communities, including our own and those of our donor-advised fundholders, we’re able to multiply the impact we have at a critical time. In times like these, community foundations have a unique multiplier effect that yields greater support for people and communities in need.”
An Unprecedented Response
Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that mobilize the assets of past and current donors to improve the lives of people in a defined geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities .
While community foundations have a long history of supporting their communities during times of crisis and disaster, the initial response toCOVID-19 is unprecedented in its size and scope. As a result, community foundations are helping fill a critical void as individuals and businesses nationwide await support from government and other sources.
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta , like many of its peers around the country, recognized the looming need early on and moved quickly to partner with the United Way of Greater Atlanta.
“Atlanta already carried the burden as the nation’s No. 1 center for income equality and lack of equitable access to basic needs and services for so many. The COVID-19 crisis has absolutely exacerbated those challenges,” Alicia Philipp, the foundation’s longtime president, said. “We immediately partnered with the United Way who was already on the frontlines of these issues, and with support from well-regarded family foundations, corporate and private foundations, we were able to mobilize millions quickly to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.”
In the past three weeks, the foundation has distributed $10.5 million to 62 nonprofits through its relief fund and this week opened an application process for arts organizations to receive critical support.
But even as it moves resources quickly to address Atlanta’s short-term needs, the foundation also recognizes that its work is only beginning.
“ Community foundations are quick collaborative responders but we will also be here for recovery and the ultimate challenge we all face — building resilient communities with community at the center,” Philipp said.
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