Giving Compass' Take:

• Vu Le urges funders to increase their funding during the COVID-19 pandemic rather than choose between organizations to support.

• Are you doing enough to continue your support for organizations you work with? Can you increase your giving now? 

• Read about the individual donor's edge when it comes to COVID-19 response

In the past few weeks, I have seen so many arts, museum, and other organizations undergo endless challenges. Admissions tickets and events have disappeared, and with them a significant revenue stream. Many funders, however, have been focusing on missions that are classified “essential” (and they are) like safety and basic needs, which means that these arts and cultural organizations are struggling even further.

I can imagine how frustrating this would be for our colleagues in arts and cultural organizations. Over the past decades, they have done what funders and consultants recommended as “best practices”: Diversify funds, generate earned-income, don’t be reliant on institutional funders, etc. And because of that, they are severely and negatively affected as COVID has closed everything down. To the funders out there and to the entire sector, we need to stop perpetuating these philanthropic Sophie’s Choices, this belief that we must make difficult sacrifices because of the lack of funding. No, there are hundreds of billions of dollars in endowments just sitting there because philanthropy has been continuously saving for a rainy day, with most foundations giving out only 5% of their assets each year. This means that 95% remains untapped, and today is that rainy day. There is plenty of funding for basic needs. And arts and culture! And advocacy! And community mobilization! And capacity building! And leadership! And research! And political engagement!

What we lack is not the funds, but the boldness among foundation leaders to challenge their archaic philosophies and practices, combined with a thorough denial of the reality of this moment. Funders, if you don’t think that this pandemic warrants an increase in your payout beyond 5%, to 10% or 20% or more, then you live in a bubble of privilege wrapped in another bubble of delusions. Take action now, and stop clinging to some bizarre idea that you’re saving up for the future, when there may not even be a future at this rate!

Read the full article about funding during COVID-19 by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.