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Candid and COVID-19: Getting information to a world in crisis

  • April 5, 2021
Candid coronavirus special issue page. The heading reads, Philanthropic response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

A little over a year ago, the world watched as COVID-19 spread across the globe. Candid responded by publishing a website that provided information on funding for coronavirus relief, resources for nonprofits and individuals, news on the pandemic, and more. In this article from our 2020 annual report, Laia Griñó shares how people across Candid collaborated to create the website in record time.

In March 2020, as the scale of devastation caused by COVID-19 was becoming clear, I learned that Candid’s leaders had decided to publish a special webpage on the crisis. Because my team and I have been deeply involved in providing data for Candid’s many foundation landscapes, I volunteered to help with the new page.

Several days of intense work followed. We had to identify the data we had on COVID-19 funding and where we had it. Although we already had processes in place to gather much of this information automatically, we still had to build, test, and refine queries to pull and deliver the data to the special issue page. There was also a large manual component to identifying COVID-19 funding data—several people actively searched press releases, websites, membership reports, surveys, and local news for references to COVID-19 grants and pledges; coded that information; and uploaded it to the database.

Meanwhile, the head of our branding, web, and design teams was building the new webpage, which was morphing into a mini-website that had a landing page and subpages. Our communications lead was developing messaging. The team that maintains our Disaster Funding Map was adding COVID-19 funding to it.

We launched our special coronavirus site on March 13—two days after the World Health Organization announced COVID-19 was officially a pandemic. Creating the site was a cross-departmental effort in the spirit of Candid’s mission to “get [people] the information they need to do good.”

Our work on the project, and the people contributing to it, grew quickly after the launch. As we learned about resources other colleagues were creating, we linked to them from the landing page or added subpages to display them. We linked to new Candid Blog posts offering updated funding analyses, historical perspective, and predictive models about how the crisis would affect nonprofits. We created a special COVID-19 funding map. We redesigned the landing page twice to accommodate new data. For several months, we raced to keep ahead of the information pouring in. For many of us, getting fresh data to the landing page and its subpages was our top priority.

We continue to update the site. In the spirit of our organizational values of driven (“We make an impact in everything we do”) and accessible (“We ask, ‘How can we help?’ and we mean it”), we’re committed to maintaining this site as long as the pandemic and recovery from it continue. I’m proud to be a part of this effort and grateful to everyone at Candid who made it possible.

Andrew Graibois looks at the camer“We are often asked what grounds us. For me, it’s checking—first thing in the morning—the funding total and top funders that our special coronavirus site will display later that day. This not only confirms that the data pipeline is running smoothly but is a potent reminder that what we are all doing is so important.”
Andrew Grabois
Manager, Corporate Philanthropy

Regina Faighes smiles at the camer“Gathering RFP data is deeply gratifying, because each RFP I load has far-reaching benefits in terms of improving the life and health of people and animals across this country. I’m fulfilling my personal desire and Candid’s mission to ‘see the world and make it better,’ while sitting at my computer.”
Regina Faighes
Data Analyst

David Jacobs smiles at the camera“I was part of the team gathering info on funds created to assist nonprofits impacted by the pandemic. These nonprofits do critical work, assisting the most vulnerable in their communities, so it was important to get that information spotlighted. It felt good to be able to assist these efforts.”
David Jacobs
Director of Data Management


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