Philanthropy and COVID-19

In the coming weeks and months, philanthropy is uniquely positioned to address the COVID-19 crisis. With the power to be nimble, flexible, and proactive in its approach, private givers are already responding to meet the needs of their communities. 

This page will highlight those examples and also provide resources that grantors can use to help grantees navigate challenges.

Please contact Tareea Smith at if you come across impactful stories or recommended resources for this list.


Philanthropy Roundtable Events

March 27, 2:00 p.m. ET
Conference Call: What the Covid-19 stimulus package (CARES Act) Means for Donors and Foundations
Hosted by The Philanthropy Roundtable


Upcoming Events

March 31, 3:30 p.m. ET
Due Process Challenges in a Time of Crisis
Presented by Due Process Institute and Clause 40 Foundation


April 2, 4:15 p.m. ET
The Rational Response to COVID-19
Presented by American Institute for Economic Research


April 10, 2:00 p.m. ET
Leadership in Crisis: Insights for Philanthropic and Nonprofit Leaders
Presented by The Center for Effective Philanthropy (Requires a Zoom account)


COVID-19 Funds

  • The Boston Foundation announces a COVID-19 Response Fund, which will give one-time operating grants to nonprofits that serve the elderly and vulnerable populations. Learn more here
  • San Diego Gas & Electric and The San Diego Foundation have seeded $1.3 million to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund to provide emergency grants to nonprofits supporting affected communities. Learn more here.
  • Lilly Endowment ($15 Million) and the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation ($500,000) provided seed capital for the newly launched Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund. On March 24, the fund announced its first set of unrestricted grants, totaling $7.3 million, to support 46 community organizations helping individuals and families as they weather the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more here.
  • The Frist Foundation has pledged $1 million to back Nashville's COVID-19 Response Fund.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $100 million toward the efforts to combat COVID-19 globally, and an additional $5 million to support the Seattle area. Learn more here.
  • One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund formed by Louisville Metro Government, the Community Foundation of Louisville, Metro United Way, the James Graham Brown Foundation, and other community partners to offer emergency assistance to affected Louisvillians. Learn more here.
  • The Mercatus Center at George Mason University launched a prize fund for innovations combating COVID-19. Learn more here.
  • AT&T is creating a $10 million Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to support affected families. Learn more here.
  • Robin Hood Relief Fund has been reactivated to support in-need families in New York. Learn more here.
  • Every Child and Oregon Department of Human Services have launched My NeighbOR, a fund to meet the immediate needs of Oregon's foster families and children as a result of COVID-19. Learn more here.
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York has partnered with peer institutions to create the $75 million NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. Learn more here.
  • Chicago-area funders have joined together to create the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. Learn more here.
  • Stand Together and the Family Independence Initiative have joined together to create the #GiveTogetherNow fund to provide direct support to families in need. Learn more here.
  • The New York Funders Alliance is compiling a list of funds and rapid-response grants for nonprofits across New York State. Learn more here.
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies announces initiatives to combat COVID-19: Coronavirus Local Response Initiative, the Coronavirus Global Response Initiative, and the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. Learn more here.
  • Seattle Foundation launches COVID-19 Response Fund. Learn more here.
  • Ralph Lauren's charitable arm donates $10 million, 250,000 masks, and 25,000 isolation gowns to combat COVID-19. Learn more here.
  • See also the Giving Compass directory of funds here for a more comprehensive list.


How funders are adapting their grantmaking practices

  • The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation announced ways they are supporting grantees, including adding an additional year of funding to every grant. Learn more here.
  • The Ball Brothers Foundation is implementing a "Rapid Grant" process to get emergency funds to its community. Learn more here.
  • Michael M. Kaiser and Brett Egan of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management have created a list of suggestions to support the arts during the pandemic crisis. Learn more here.
  • Utilizing DAFs: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Opinion): The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Prove Why Donor-Advised Funds Serve Society Well. Learn more here.
  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy offers six steps for grant makers to prepare for nonprofit recovery after COVID-19. Learn more here.
    1. Check in with your grantees
    2. Provide unrestricted funding and remove restrictions on existing grants
    3. Pay full costs
    4. Suspend reporting requirements and evaluate site visits
    5. Maintain funding levels
    6. Mobilize recovery grants
  • Barron's: How Bridge Loans Can Aid Nonprofits and Social Enterprises Through the Covid-19 Crisis
  • Medium: 5 Learnings from Funders as They Respond to COVID-19
  • Foellinger Foundation of Allen County, Indiana is committing $1.35M in Critical Response Grants to support local nonprofits providing crucial services. Learn more here.
  • PEAK Grantmaking is tracking changes in the grants management response to COVID-19. Learn more here.
  • North Texas Cares, a collaborative of North Texas funders, is now accepting applications for emergency grants. Learn more here.


What funders and others are doing in healthcare

  • The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and CZ Biohub will quadruple the COVID-19 testing capability of UCSF. Learn more here.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announces the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a coalition to quicken the development of antiviral drugs and the manufacturing processes necessary to distribute these treatments throughout the world. Through a partnership with Wellcome and Mastercard, $125 million will go toward this effort. Learn more here
  • Bayer donates three million malaria tablets to potentially fight coronavirus. Learn more here.
  • Teva plans to donate more than 10 million hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to hospitals within a month. Learn more here.
  • Nashville gin distillery switches to hand sanitizer production and will donate it to the community. Learn more here.
  • Prudential donates 153,000 masks and respirators stockpiled after 9/11 to the state of New Jersey. Learn more here.
  • State Policy Network: Five things state policymakers can do right now to address the coronavirus public health crisis. Learn more here.


What funders and others are doing in education

  • Community members in Ohio are taking in displaced students from Denison University. Learn more here.
  • Charter Communications in Connecticut is offering free broadband and Wi-Fi access to homes with K-12 or college students that do not already have service. Learn more here.
  • The National School Choice Week team offers a list of 37 free resources for schools during the shift to online learning in the wake of COVID-19. Learn more here.
  • Zearn Math offers webinars for administrators, teachers, and parents to prepare for distance learning. Learn more here
  • The Samueli Foundation, through its North America Scholastic Esports Federation, is providing students around the country the opportunity to engage on a free, monitored, safe online e-sports platform, coupled with STEM-based learning opportunities. Learn more here.
  • Cristo Rey Network is requesting support for its alumni affected by school closures. Learn more here.
  • KIPP Foundation is collecting funds for its alumni affected by college closures and has made resources available for its campuses to navigate school closures. Learn more here.
  • The Charter School Growth Fund has approved $2.5 million in emergency grants to its 120 portfolio members. Learn more here.
  • Charter schools are receiving direct philanthropic support to address emergent needs related to meals, technology, and other materials to support students as they learn at home. Please reach out to your local charter schools to determine what needs they may have. 
  • NewSchools Venture Fund has compiled a Google spreadsheet filled with a variety of great resources ranging from math to reading and writing geared toward parents, families, and educators. Learn more here.
  • Khan Academy has set up a help desk for how its tools can be used during school closures here. You can view their suggested daily routines by grade level here.
  • The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy created an education toolkit for at-home learning filled with free resources that can continue to help children build literacy skills while at home. Learn more here.
  • Bellwether Education Partners is offering consulting services to school districts and charter schools pro bono. Learn more here.
  • Partnership Schools (Partnership for Inner-City Education) is waiving tuition during school closures, is continuing to pay staff for the remainder of school closures, and has started the Partnership Schools COVID-19 Family Relief Fund for any of the school's families facing an urgent need. Learn more here.
  • South Carolina Department of Education plans on using 3,000 buses with Wi-Fi access, prioritizing rural and high-poverty districts. Learn more here.
  • Children's Scholarship Fund has launched the Stay in School Fund to support scholarship families in need. Learn more here.
  • Harbor Freight Tools offers a list of resources for trade teachers. Learn more here.
  • New York City Charter School Center received an anonymous donation to fund COVID-19 Crisis Grants to ensure high quality remote learning for its students. Learn more here.
  • Travis Manion Foundation will host daily Facebook Live sessions on character education. Learn more here.
  • The Andrew and Julie Klingenstein Family Fund is among those supporting the new DC Education Equity Fund. The fund will increase internet access and purchase digital devices to support students, educators, and schools with distance learning. Learn more here.
  • Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and family to donate $5 million for laptops so Philadelphia students can learn remotely. Learn more here.


What funders and others are doing in civic education

  • National Constitution Center is hosting daily live webinars on constitutional principles. Learn more here.
  • Center for Civic Education offers free, downloadable lesson plans. Learn more here.
  • Thomas B. Fordham Institute offers resources for remote learning. Learn more here.
  • Thomas B. Fordham Institute created a list of educational YouTube channels for middle school/high school students. Learn more here.
  • Heritage Foundation offers resources for remote learning. Learn more here.
  • Jack Miller Center offers resources for remote learning. Learn more here.
  • An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100 Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know - Free access through May 31. Learn more here.


What funders and others are doing for economic opportunity and workforce development

  • Communities Foundation of Texas launched the Get Shift Done initiative to keep hourly hospitality workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more here.
  • The Southern Smoke Foundation of Houston and the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation are collaborating in distributing direct relief to restaurant workers, funding nonprofits serving restaurant workers in crisis, and providing zero-interest loans for restaurants to get back up and running. Their work is funded by corporations, foundations, and individuals. Learn more here.
  • The EdTech Center at World Education has created a new website called Tips for Distance Learning. Learn more here.


What funders and others are doing for social services

  • Social media provides a platform for direct, peer-to-peer giving. Learn more here.
  • Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty is leading an effort to bring boxed meals (1 million/week) to kids in rural communities by leveraging philanthropy. Learn more here.
  • Families Empowered serves families in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, and provides a list of resources for families in those regions including school-related information, how to access meals and other social supports, and learning recommendations. Learn more here.
  • Gates Family Foundation donated $250,000 to the Mile High United Way’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Effort. Learn more here.


What funders and others are doing for veterans

  • San Antonio’s USAA and the USAA Foundation announced they will give a total of $2.3 million to military-related and national nonprofits in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The aid will help provide meals and emergency financial assistance for military families and care packages for troops overseas. Funds will also support research on virus therapies and vaccines. Learn more here.


What funders and others are doing to maintain communications and internet access

  • CTIA is keeping communities connected in partnership with leading wireless network providers. Learn more here.
  • The Federal Communications Commission has temporarily granted U.S. cellular additional spectrum to improve internet capability during COVID-19. Wireless providers — T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Comcast — are all lifting their unlimited data caps for cell phone subscribers for at least 60 days. Learn more here.
  • Internet providers are providing free hot spots and broadband service to students and families in need. ComcastXfinityAT&T, and Spectrum announced all their hot spots are free.


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