In 2020, we saw philanthropy react quickly to the extensive needs created by this global catastrophe. According to “Philanthropy and Covid-19: Measuring One Year of Giving,” Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), where I work, tracked more than $20 billion worth of donations from institutional and high net worth donors.

The pandemic has given rise to long-overdue discussions among grantmakers around how and what we fund – discussions that CDP has been having with funders since its inception. Philanthropists are beginning to understand the need to trust funded organizations to do the work, to direct funding as close to local communities in need as possible, and to fund groups led by and focused on populations that are systematically marginalized, even in normal times and who are, tragically, always disproportionately affected by disasters.

With the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund, we mobilized resources quickly to get funds in the hands of grantee partners to support their capacity.  Our first five grant rounds focused on “rapid response” to ensure that basic needs of the organizations, their employees and volunteers and those they serve were being met. For subsequent rounds of funding, we continued to address those basic needs and capacity, but also – by listening to our grantee partners – we were able to identify areas of need that would require a longer-term focus to address.

What should philanthropy do now?

Philanthropy will continue to play an important role in helping communities recover from the pandemic. When supporting nonprofits, we encourage donors and grantmakers to:

  • Increase giving and award unrestricted, flexible grants.
  • Provide operational and administrative support to build organizational capacity to succeed
  • Target communities that are systematically marginalized and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Step outside your comfort zone by looking at new issues and organizations to support.

Read the full article about COVID-19 giving by Sally Ray and Suri Clark at Charity Navigator.