The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation today announced $4 million in emergency grant funding as the Foundation’s initial response to the developing COVID-19 public health crisis. The emergency grants will support current grantees that are providing vital services within their communities while facing severe operational challenges as a result of this pandemic.
The $4 million includes $2.57 million in emergency funding to 55 nonprofits operating within the Foundation’s priority communities throughout the United States and Israel, as well as an additional $1.5 million of funding available for emergency needs that will be identified in the coming weeks and months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation is also accelerating payment of several previously approved grants to ensure that organizations have use of those funds as quickly as possible.
As news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has developed, the Foundation’s staff has engaged service providers, grantees, and other funders to better understand the specific impact of this public health emergency within the Foundation’s priority communities: Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaiʻi, Israel, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and Rural Communities (primarily rural areas within proximity to other priority communities). While the Foundation is beginning to develop a long-term response to challenges posed by COVID-19, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a first group of 55 grants, totaling $2.57 million, to be distributed immediately within each of its priority communities. Please see the entire list of grants here.
“The Foundation conducted extensive and swift due diligence to identify active Weinberg Foundation grantees for rapid response funding,” said Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Chair. “This funding is intended to provide a measure of stability to nonprofits that are facing a myriad of challenges while continuing to provide vital services to the most vulnerable and low-income populations in their communities.”
All emergency grants are approved to support the general operations of the organizations listed. The Foundation seeks to provide each organization with maximum discretion and flexibility in how the emergency funding is utilized, so long as it is consistent with the Foundation’s overarching funding guidelines and restrictions.
The Foundation has already reached out directly to its grantees to enact several supportive measures, which are in effect until further notice. These measures include extending or rescheduling reporting requirements, as well as providing flexibility concerning benchmarks and goal measurement. In addition, the Foundation has assured grantees that current grant commitments will not be affected by recent stock market volatility.
Numerous media reports and accounts from the field underscore the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 crisis on particular populations within our communities, including people experiencing homelessness, low-income workers, older residents who are at higher risk, and low-income families.
“These populations represent the heart of the Foundation’s mission and work every day,” said Rachel Garbow Monroe, President and CEO. “As much as ever, the Foundation’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic—supporting our nonprofit partners—is focused on meeting the basic human needs of people experiencing poverty, which becomes even more critical during this unprecedented time in our world.”
In accordance with government directives regarding COVID-19 protocols, as well as health expert guidance, all Weinberg Foundation personnel in Baltimore and Honolulu are telecommuting. The Foundation’s staff is fully operational and equipped to conduct Foundation business remotely.
In sum, the Foundation believes that its current grant recommendations will offer much-needed relief to select partners that are providing critical services during this difficult time. Again, this represents only the first phase of the Foundation’s COVID-19 response. The Foundation looks forward to meeting the challenge of developing mid- and long-term responses to the COVID-19 crisis and to doing its part to help address the needs of low-income individuals and families who are among those most severely impacted.