Global COVID-19 response totaled $11.9 billion in first half of 2020

Global COVID-19 response totaled $11.9 billion in first half of 2020

Global philanthropic giving in support of COVID-19 response and relief efforts during the first half of 2020 totaled more than $11.9 billion, a report from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and Candid finds.

Based on Candid data as of July 7, the report, Philanthropy and COVID-19 in the First Half of 2020 (20 pages, PDF), found that corporate giving accounted for 66 percent of total dollars pledged or awarded (including in-kind contributions), 11 percent of the donations, and 57 percent of the donors, with corporate foundations comprising 14 percent of all COVID-related giving by corporations. Independent foundations, the next largest category in dollar terms, accounted for 14 percent of dollars, 19 percent of donations, and 16 percent of donors, followed by high-net-worth individuals (13 percent of dollars, 1 percent of donations, and 5 percent of donors), grantmaking public charities (3 percent of dollars, 20 percent of donations, and 10 percent of donors), and operating foundations (3 percent of dollars and less than 1 percent each of donations and donors). While community foundations accounted for just 1 percent of the dollars committed, they awarded the largest number of grants (49 percent) and represented 12 percent of the donors.

Among independent foundations, the top funders of global COVID-19 initiatives include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($355 million), Open Society Foundations ($130 million), and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($113.1 million), while organizations and initiatives receiving the most institutional funding include the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator ($172 million), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance ($115 million), and E4E Relief ($75 million).

The report highlights trends in philanthropic responses to the global public health emergency, including efforts by U.S. foundations to provide flexible funding and/or increase their grantmaking, as well as calls for higher payout requirements. The report's authors also note that only 3 percent of grant dollars in the data set were explicitly identified as flexible or unrestricted general support funding, and that only 5 percent of grant dollars that specified the recipients of the funds identified Black, Indigenous or other communities of color as beneficiaries, despite those populations being disproportionately impacted by the virus.

To make COVID-19 funding more effective, the report calls on funders to provide unrestricted support, expand their existing giving, support local nonprofits that focus on communities of color and other vulnerable populations, give to community foundations' response funds, partner with other funders, and fund the efforts of land trusts to create and maintain affordable housing. 

"We have seen incredible generosity since the outbreak of the pandemic," said CDP vice president Regine A. Webster, vice president of CDP, which as of June 30 had distributed more than $10 million through its COVID-19 Response Fund. "Yet, we in the philanthropic community must push ourselves to give more and give smarter. The economic, social, and health impacts of the pandemic will outpace every donated dollar unless we support the most vulnerable among us."

For more information about the philanthropic response to the coronavirus, including a funding summary, a list of emergency resources for individuals and small businesses, and a list of funds established in response to the pandemic, visit Candid's COVID-19 page.

(Photo credit: Dieter Telemans/Panos Pictures)

"Philanthropy and COVID-19 in the first half of 2020." Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Candid report 08/26/2020. "New Report: $11.9B in COVID-19 philanthropy tops giving for other past disasters." Center for Disaster Philanthropy press release 08/26/2020.