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Maintaining and building relationships with funders during COVID-19

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Maintaining and building relationships with funders during COVID-19

Photo courtsey of #WOCinTech Chat.

This blog is part of a developing series on the state of afterschool funding and the changing landscape of philanthopy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch this space for more posts!

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, funders are responding to the changing needs of the field. At the time of this writing, hundreds of foundations have signed onto pledges to loosen restrictions on existing grants, make new grants as unrestricted as possible, reduce reporting requirements, and otherwise work to support COVID-19 response efforts in local communities. The Council of Foundations maintains a growing list of funders that have signed this pledge.

If you haven’t already, reach out to your funders to see if there are ways they can better support your organization. Some questions to consider asking:

  • Is it possible to convert program funds to unrestricted funds to allow for general operations?
  • How can I use existing funds to continue to pay my staff?
  • Can we transition funds to help pay for infrastructure to facilitate virtual learning?
  • Can we postpone deliverable or reporting requirements during this time?
  • Can we get an advance on financial support scheduled for later in the year?

In addition to increased flexibility foundations are building into their funding structures, other organizations are stepping up to provide relief funding for COVID-19 activities. A few examples:

  • New York Community Trust offers grants for NYC nonprofits struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus and/or those trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city, especially health care and food security.
  • Chicago Community Trust, in partnership with the City of Chicago and United Way of Metro Chicago, has launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to support nonprofits in the region as health and human service organizations are experience a surge in demand.
  • Walmart has created a $25 million fund to support organizations on the frontlines of the outbreak.
  • No Kid Hungry is offering emergency grants to support local school districts and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to ensure kids get the nutritious food they need.

We will keep looking out for resources to share with you. Know that the needs of our children and families are being recognized, and help is out there.

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