The philanthropic response to COVID-19 has been dominated by three separate but interconnected themes: (1) Relaxation of standard reporting requirements, programmatic restrictions and timelines, (2) Advocacy for funders to extend themselves past standard 5% payout spending policies and (3) Creation of emergency funding pools or other rapid response structures.

While all are worthy of consideration, these trends are not groundbreaking for place-based family funders who have deep connectivity to their communities in ways that extend past grantee relationships. Moreover, place-serving funders with a rural base typically have an even closer relationship with their communities as these funders are often the sole large-staffed philanthropic enterprise in their county or region. While the national philanthropic media might overlook rural America, these rural family funders have been here along. Consequently, there isn’t much of a need for family funders to reach out or pivot to respond to community crisis. It is the kind of thing that’s second nature.

So, in the midst of COVID-19, what does rural family philanthropy look like? We spoke with four rural family foundations during the period of April 13-22, 2020. Each foundation represents a distinct rural geography, grantmaking focus, and family history.

Here are snapshots of each foundation: their responses to COVID-19, the outlook for the future, and current and potential challenges.

Read the full article about rural philanthropy during COVID-19 by Allen Smart at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.