A post to Exponent Philanthropy's blog

Lean Funders Are Adjusting Grantmaking and Operations to Respond to COVID-19: Week of May 11

On Friday, May 8, Exponent Philanthropy hosted another live discussion for lean funders to share how they’re responding to COVID-19. We’ll continue hosting these discussions every Friday at 2 p.m. EST to give all lean funders the opportunity to connect around their responses. We are also compiling COVID-19 information and resources relevant to lean funders.

Lean funders are responding to COVID-19 in varied ways, while recognizing the virus, response, testing, treatments, medical supplies and community needs are ever-changing.

On May 8, funders discussed:

Helping beyond dollars

Funders highlighted facilitating connections. The Community Foundation of North Central Washington’s Beth Stipe said she’s helping nonprofits navigate government programs by connecting them with local lawyers. The Cape Coral Community Foundation’s Michael Chatman said he’s connecting local college students with people in retirement homes to help fight social isolation.

Keep reading about how funders can give beyond dollars.

Learning from past disasters

Funders say the partnerships formed during earlier disasters, Hurricane Harvey and the wildfires in Eastern Washington, laid the foundation for their COVID-19 responses. Specifically, funders say they are:

  • Reactivating old relationships
  • Streamlining application processes
  • Administering pooled funds
  • Improving collaboration among peers
  • Finding new, direct ways to get feedback from clients and nonprofits

Taking a wide view of community issues

Place-based funders emphasized taking an expansive look at community challenges. Community foundations can’t support every nonprofit. But they’re well informed on where funds can make a big difference. And they’re looking to Donor Advised Fund holders and private foundation partners to support a wide range of issues.

Collaborating for an outsized impact

No matter the foundation type, lean funders say they’re collaborating with funders and key figures in the area. Lean funders are learning how local organizations are meeting ever-changing community needs. And they say collaborating affords lean funders the opportunity to have an outsized impact.

Connect with peers on Fridays at 2 p.m. EST at our weekly discussions on funder responses to COVID-19.

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