Leaders of Philanthropy-Serving Organizations Call on Funders to Increase Grant Spending During COVID-19 Crisis
As leaders of philanthropy-serving organizations in this unprecedented moment of challenge for our country and globally, we applaud the efforts by foundations to be responsive to the needs of nonprofits and the communities and causes they serve. We strongly endorse the pledge signed by more than 460 foundations to loosen restrictions on grantees during this time and generally to be as flexible as possible.
Yet what nonprofits need most right now is more money. Without rapid and meaningful infusions of additional resources, many organizations will have to dramatically pare back programs and services or fold their operations entirely – and the results for the economy, vulnerable populations, communities, and progress on crucial issues will be devastating.
The CARES Act and other stimulus packages passed recently by Congress include wide-ranging supports for nonprofits and low income people. And yet these funds may be difficult to access and still will not meet the needs. We’ve been heartened that some foundations and corporate giving programs are increasing their grants at this crucial time. We call on all funders to consider joining them by significantly increasing their grant spending during this crisis.
Organizations helping and empowering the most vulnerable, those closest to the financial precipice with limited operating capital or reserves, and those with significant earned revenue streams or that rely small gifts from individual donors are facing significant challenges. Organizations serving communities of color are also going to need extra resources as they deal with skyrocketing unemployment for all racial groups and particularly for black, indigenous and Latinx communities, and with Asians and Pacific Islanders facing xenophobia.
Deploying philanthropic assets to strengthen vital organizations doing crucial work in extremely challenging circumstances is more important right now than preserving endowment capital. The strength of a funder’s grantees at the end of this crisis will be a much better measure of the significance of a foundation than the size of its endowment. Unprecedented challenges require unprecedented responses – and a casting aside of traditional norms and approaches.