Philanthropic Foundation Responses to COVID-19

Philanthropic Foundation Responses to COVID-19

Foundations that signed a Council on Foundations pledge to boost support for nonprofits in response to the COVID public health emergency were more likely to report adopting flexible and responsive grantmaking practices than foundations that didn't sign the pledge, a study by researchers at the University of Washington the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance finds. Funded by the Ford Foundation and based on a survey of five hundred of the largest U.S. foundations, the report, Philanthropic Foundation Responses to COVID-19, found that signatory foundations were significantly more likely than non-signatory foundations to loosen or eliminate restrictions on current grants, make new unrestricted grants, reduce or eliminate reporting requirements, allow funding to be used for different purposes, establish a specific fund in support of COVID-19 reief and response efforts, and/or solicit community feedback on their response. At the same time, signatory foundations were no more likely than other foundations to increase communications with grantees or support advocacy efforts for grantees. The survey also found that among all respondents, 60.1 percent reported prioritizing low-income people in their COVID-19 response, followed by Black/African-American communities (47.8 percent), Latinx communities (43.5 percent), immigrant communities (41.3 percent), and people experiencing homelessness (41.3 percent). And while 70.3 percent of all respondents said they had established a new fund to address emergent issues related to COVID-19, only 30.4 percent reported increasing their payout percentage.