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Foundations Step Up Funding for COVID-19 Response Efforts (April 1-11, 2020)

COVID19As COVID-19 spreads globally and in the United States, private foundations are stepping up with funding to meet the immediate needs of individuals and vulnerable populations impacted by the virus. The “quick-hit” roundup below captures some of the foundation activity in response to COVID-19 over the last two weeks. Items are sorted in alpha order, by state and, within states, by foundation name.

For more coverage, check out PND’s COVID-19 page and Candid’s COVID-19 popup page.


Akonadi Foundation, Oakland, CA | $1 Million

The Akonadi Foundation has announced it will allocate $1 million from its endowment to make grants to people-of-color-led organizations and initiatives in Oakland responding to communities impacted by COVID-19. With the public health crisis highlighting racialized inequities nationwide, the foundation has re-launched its So Love Can Win Fund — originally launched in 2016 with the aim of seeding a vision of a safe, healed, and racially just Oakland — to provide one-time rapid response grants of up to $10,000 to meet emerging community demands and/or help organizations cover their revenue losses.

Eisner Foundation, Los Angeles, CA | $500,000

The Eisner Foundation has committed $500,000 to create a Rapid Response grant program that will award grants to nonprofits helping older adults combat social isolation in Los Angeles County. One-year grants ranging from $5,000 to 50,000 will support technological or logistical solutions that enable organizations to adapt quickly now and have better infrastructure in place for their long-term work. Priority will be given to intergenerational solutions as well as current or recent grantees.

Heising-Simons Foundation, Los Altos, CA | $2 Million

The University of California, San Francisco has announced a $2 million grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to establish a COVID Response Initiative at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), a public hospital operated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and a UCSF partner. The grant will enable physicians and trainees to better triage and treat COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization and create appropriate care plans for individuals who do not. The grant also will support COVID-19 screening and on-site testing at ZSFG and help provide personal protective equipment for nurses, respiratory technicians, and physicians.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Agoura Hills, CA | $10 Million

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has announced grants totaling $10 million in support of efforts to protect the homeless population in Los Angeles from COVID-19 and help African countries prepare for an outbreak. Grants include $2.25 million to Brilliant Corners in support of a partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; $500,000 to the California Community Foundation; $2.25 million to United Way of Greater Los Angeles; $500,000 to Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO); $3 million to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa; and $1.5 million to UNICEF.

James Irvine Foundation, San Francisco, CA| $22 Million

The James Irvine Foundation has announced commitments totaling $22 million aimed at helping grantees weather the economic storm caused by mandatory lockdowns related to the spread of COVID-19. As part of its Recession Resilience Project, the foundation will provide $20 million in immediate emergency funding to grantees of the foundation’s Better Careers, Fair Work, and Priority Regions initiatives working to protect and advance the prospects of low-wage workers, and approximately $2 million to help other grassroots organizations in California weather the public health emergency. The foundation also plans to relax and/or renegotiate restrictions on current grants; reduce restrictions on the use of new grants; postpone or eliminate other requests it makes of grantees, including site visits and progress reports; and continue its efforts to listen to and work with its grantees and the communities they serve.

Maddie’s Fund, Pleasanton, CA | $12.2 Million

Maddie’s Fund has announced a $1 million commitment to help animal shelters and rescue organizations create, continue, and/or expand pet foster care programs. Grants of up to $20,000 will support telehealth services to meet veterinary needs for foster families via the Best Friends Vet Access program, as well as efforts to recruit foster caregivers for’s national database.

Conrad Prebys Foundation, La Jolla, CA | $1 Million

The Conrad Prebys Foundation has awarded the Scripps Research Institute a $1 million challenge grant to help provide critical supplies for frontline healthcare workers engaged in the fight against COVID-19, the Times of San Diego reports. Scripps has launched a campaign to raise $1 million in matching donations.


Marcus Foundation, Atlanta, GA | $2.1 Million

The Grady Health Foundation has announced a $2.1 million gift from the Marcus Foundation to fast-track a virus-related surge-capacity plan for Grady Health System. The funds will be used to secure up to fifty-two patient beds in preparation for a potential surge in COVID-19 admissions at the hospital, where more than two hundred beds remain offline following a flooding event in late 2019.


Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Chicago, IL | $3 Million

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $3 million in support of small arts and culture organizations impacted by COVID-19. The foundation expedited $2 million in general support funds to its current arts grantees — a hundred and seventy-five in the Chicago region and forty in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. The foundation also contributed $200,000 to the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund; created an initial $100,000 Lowcountry Arts Emergency Fund; seeded a $200,000 relief fund for small organizations in both regions; and will continue its Cash Reserve Challenge, which offers arts groups the opportunity to receive up to $25,000 in matching funds to bolster their cash reserves.


Iowa West Foundation, Council Bluffs, IA | $168,000

The Iowa West Foundation has announced an initial round of grants totaling more than $168,000 from the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund, which it helped launch with a commitment of up to $500,000. Recipients include the New Visions Homeless Shelter, Food Bank of the Heartland, Food Bank of Iowa, Care and Share Pantry, Centro Latino, and Citylight Church.


Barr Foundation, Boston, MA | $2.6 Million

The Barr Foundation has announced grants totaling $2.6 million in support of COVID-19 response efforts, including grants of $250,000 each to five community foundation partners participating in Barr’s Creative Commonwealth program — the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Essex County Community Foundation, and Greater Worcester Community Foundation. The foundation also announced grants of $100,000 to six other community foundations; a grant of $500,000 to the Boston Resiliency Fund established by Boston mayor Marty Walsh; and a grant of $250,000 to the Boston Foundation‘s COVID-19 Response Fund.

Boston Foundation, Boston, MA | $2.6 Million

The Boston Foundation has announced a second round of grants totaling $450,000 from its COVID-19 Response Fund in support of nonprofits serving those directly impacted by the spread of the virus. One-time general support grants of $25,000 each were awarded to eighteen nonprofits in the greater Boston area, including the Centre for Faith, Art and Justice (Jamaica Plain), Mystic Valley Elder Services (Malden), and Women Encouraging Empowerment (Revere). The fund has raised more than $4 million to date and awarded thirty-three grants totaling $825,000.


Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Flint, MI | $200,000

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has announced a $200,000 grant to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in support of emergency food distribution for underserved populations in Flint and surrounding Genesee County. The food bank will use the grant to purchase and deliver healthy food to nine distribution sites and provide more than a million meals to those in need.


Missouri Foundation for Health, St. Louis, MO | $15 Million

The Missouri Foundation for Health has announced a $15 million commitment in support of public health and social infrastructure critical to COVID-19 response efforts across the state, including an initial $7 million in grants to federally qualified health centers and community mental health centers. The foundation also is partnering with food banks and local chambers of commerce to bridge a workforce gap in food packaging and distribution by facilitating the temporary employment of food-service professionals.


Borealis Philanthropy, New York, NY | $2.3 Million

Philanthropic intermediary Borealis Philanthropy has announced that the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund — a funder collaborative that includes the American Journalism Project, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation, Google News Initiative, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and News Integrity Initiative at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY — has awarded a first round of grants totaling $2.3 million. The grants will support the efforts of sixteen news organizations serving communities of color, immigrants and refugees, rural communities, and poor and low-income people working to advance innovative approaches to news delivery, train citizen journalists, hire engagement reporters, and develop podcasts, zines, and community events.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, NY| $2 Million

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts has announced the launch of a $2 million fund in support of artists whose performances or exhibitions have been canceled or indefinitely postponed due to the spread of COVID-19. The FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund will offer one-time grants of $1,500 to help offset artists’ losses, including the cost of already-purchased materials or equipment and an anticipated loss of income from ticket sales and artist and commissioning fees.

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York, NY| $5 Million

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation has announced a three-year, $5 million initiative in support of artists and arts organizations impacted by the coronavirus. The foundation awarded an initial round of grants totaling $1.25 million, including $50,000 to the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ FCA COVID-19 Relief Fund; $500,000 to the Artist Relief Fund, a new initiative to be launched formally in the coming weeks, and $250,000 in operating funds to a consortium of small New York City-based arts organizations that present the work of living artists.

Clara Lionel Foundation, Brooklyn, NY | $2.1 Million

Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have pledged $2.1 million each to the Mayors’ Fund for Los Angeles in support of domestic violence victims at risk as a result of the city’s stay-at-home order. The combined gift will provide ten weeks of support, including shelter, meals, and counseling for victims of domestic abuse and their children. The latest contribution from CLF brings its total support for COVID-19 response efforts to more than $8 million.

Clara Lionel Foundation, Brooklyn, NY; Shawn Carter Foundation, Miami, FL | $2 Million

Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation have announced a joint commitment of $2 million in support of COVID-19 response efforts for marginalized communities in New York City and Los Angeles. Commitments of $1 million from each foundation will support efforts led by the Fund for Public Schools (NYC), the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, and the New York Immigration Coalition to assist undocumented workers, children of frontline healthcare workers and first responders, and incarcerated, elderly, and homeless populations in the two cities. CLF previously pledged $5 million in support of organizations working on the frontlines of COVID-19 relief to assist vulnerable populations in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, New York, NY | $1 Million

The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation has pledged $1 million to the United Nations Foundation‘s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, the Staten Island Advance reports.

Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, New York, NY; James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation, Chicago, IL | $2 Million

The City University of New York has announced grants of $1 million each from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation and James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation to launch the Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund, which will distribute grants of $500 to thousands of students facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to the gifts from the two foundations, the fund has received more than $1.25 million from other donors, including Robin Hood ($500,000), JPMorgan Chase ($750,000), Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and the Jeffrey H. and Shari L. Aronson Family, Pinkerton, Solon E. Summerfield, and Harman Family foundations.

Rachael Ray Foundation, New York, NY | $4 Million

The Rachael Ray Foundation and Yum-o! Organization have pledged $4 million in support of COVID-19 relief efforts in support of American families and their pets. Half the funds will support food and nutritional programs through partner organizations Feeding America, Share Our Strength, World Central Kitchen, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, City Harvest, Hunger Free America, Wholesome Wave, and Rethink Food; while the other half will go to animal welfare groups through the Rachael Ray Save Them All Grants COVID-19 Relief Program at Best Friends Animal Society.

RMF Foundation, New York, NY | $3 Million

SurveyMonkey founder Ryan Finley and his wife, Mary, have made donations totaling $3 million through the RMF Foundation in support of efforts to combat COVID-19. Grants of $1.5 million each to Legacy Health and Oregon Health & Science University will support the work of frontline healthcare workers during the public health emergency.

Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, New York, NY | $500,000

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has committed an additional $500,000 to New York City Health + HospitalsCOVID-19 Relief Fund, boosting to $2 million its total support for the public healthcare system in New York. Administered by Network for Good, the fund will provide funds for the hiring and support of healthcare workers as COVID-19 continues to spread in the city.

Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York, NY | $1.6 Million

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has authorized Regional Regranting Program partners in sixteen communities to use their annual grants of $100,000 to create a COVID-19 emergency relief fund. Through the new fund, emergency grants will be awarded to individual artists whose income has been impacted by the public health crisis to meet basic needs such as food, rent, health care, and child care.


John M. Belk Endowment, Charlotte, NC | $1 Million

The John M. Belk Endowment has announced a $1 million donation to the COVID-19 Response Fund launched by the Foundation for the Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas in support of efforts to assist Mecklenburg County residents impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Including the gift from the endowment, the fund has raised more than $15 million in two weeks and awarded a first round of grants totaling $3 million to fourteen nonprofits.

Duke Endowment, Charlotte, NC | $2.5 Million

The Duke Endowment has announced a $2.5 million commitment in support of COVID-19 response efforts in North and South Carolina. Half the total, $1.25 million, will be disbursed through the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation, which is establishing a COVID-19 Fill the Gap Fund to respond to emergency needs that cannot be addressed by public resources or reimbursement. In South Carolina, the remaining $1.25 million will be disbursed through the Central Carolina Community Foundation‘s One SC fund, which has launched a COVID-19 Response campaign in partnership with the SC Grantmakers Network, Together SC, and United Way Association of SC to mobilize philanthropic resources in support of nonprofits serving the state’s most vulnerable residents.


Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Hudson, OH | $210,000

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation has announced grants totaling $210,000 in support of efforts to address the health and economic impacts precipitated by COVID-19 in Northeast Ohio. Recipients include the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund ($120,000), the Hebrew Free Loan Association ($50,000), and the Akron Community Foundation for the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits ($20,000).


Barra Foundation, Wayne, PA | $520,000

The Barra Foundation has announced grants totaling $520,000 to help address the short-term COVID-related needs of nonprofits in the greater Philadelphia region. The foundation awarded one-time unrestricted grants of $2,500 each to the hundred and eight organizations that received Barra Awards, which recognize exemplary nonprofits in the region that have been peer-nominated by other organizations in the social i


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