Over the past two months, we’ve featured nonprofits who are reaching patrons and bolstering communities despite COVID-19. In this round-up, we’re highlighting the work of foundations who have stepped up, organized, and leveraged their networks to support nonprofits during the pandemic.
Cleveland Foundation: Greater Cleveland Rapid Response Fund
Immediately after shutdowns began, the Cleveland Foundation organized an unparalleled coalition of over 2,000 Northeast Ohio philanthropic organizations and corporate partners to collect and deploy critical resources to nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines.
To date, the Foundation has awarded over $5 million to more than 100 nonprofits addressing needs from food insecurity to transportation to medical care. They’ve made it as easy as one click to donate to the fund, enabling the entire community to coalesce resources and increase impact.
We are so proud to be headquartered in a city with such deep, philanthropic roots. To contribute to the Rapid Response Fund click here.
Graves Foundation: Creating Change Gallery
Last fall, the Minneapolis-based Graves Foundation invited a cohort of young artists to commemorate the new Creating Change Gallery. The Gallery, located in the Foundation's downtown offices, supports emerging artists under the age of 25 by providing mentorship and resources. This help enables young artists to open their first solo exhibition while giving them a platform to share their unique story.
With the first show scheduled to open in May 2020, the gallery was closed to the public. But the Foundation decided to experiment with simple digital tools to move forward with the openings despite the closure. They used FaceTime and Zoom to enable the young artists to continue meeting with their mentors, a core component of the project. They also used Facebook to livestream a virtual walk-through of the exhibition with the young artist as the guide.
There are three more openings scheduled this year with plans to include a live DJ and one-on-one virtual appointments between the artists and visitors interested in purchasing their work. We love this example of using technology to foster symbiosis between young artists and their community.
Stark Community Foundation: Straight From Stark Series
During the pandemic, Stark Community Foundation has collected and dispersed critical funds to the community it serves. To highlight the impact of these funds, they recently created an engaging video series, Straight from Stark, that provides an in-depth look at the local organizations serving on the frontlines.
They have also provided a wide range of ways for people to give, from the general Community Charitable Fund to a Charitable Giving Gift card. This flexibility enables everyone to contribute at any level.
Dave Thomas Foundation: Virtual Adoption
The Dave Thomas Foundation’s mission is to dramatically increase the number of adoptions of children waiting in foster care systems. Typically, a critical step of the adoption process is arranging in-person meetings between adoptive parents and children in foster care – a critical step that COVID-19 has interrupted.
But, the Foundation has found new ways to use technology to continue to serve their mission and connect kids with families. Through the use of video conferencing and cloud-based document sharing systems, the Foundation has been able to work with courts to finalize the adoption process from a distance. They continue to advocate for more courts to embrace these digital tools.
Learn more about one family’s experience with virtual adoption during COVID-19 here.
Ford Foundation: Social Bonds
Many foundations have come up with creative ways to use digital tools to fund the important work of community organizations. The Ford Foundation is proving that not all innovative ideas involve technology.
They created an extraordinary solution to address the ongoing need for support for nonprofits in light of the economic crisis in the form of a Social Bond, the first Bond of its kind. The Foundation is selling $1 billion of these special bonds. The proceeds are distributed to support operations of organizations addressing inequality. This framework provides investors with a socially responsible investing option, and positions the Foundation to significantly increase their grant-giving dollars – an estimated $1.7 billion more than their typical payouts over two years.