COVID-19 Funder Response

Exponent Philanthropy hosts a live discussion for lean funders to hear from their peers about how they are tackling today’s challenges.

As we continue to experience the impact of COVID-19 on our lives and our communities, we in the giving sector have a unique opportunity to provide critical support to the most vulnerable. This live discussion is your opportunity to learn what actions your peers are taking, ask questions, and make connections in this isolating and unprecedented time.

Fran Sykes of Pascale Sykes Foundation, Sheena Solomon of Gifford Foundation, and Janis Reischmann of Hau’oli Mau Loa Foundation will kick-off the call by sharing how they are responding.


Fran Sykes, Pascale Sykes Foundation, NJ. The Pascale Sykes Foundation is supporting grantees as they work side by side with their families on new and old goals and needs. The foundation provided emergency funding within 24-48 hours of request to keep grantees connected to their families, simplified reports and proposals, and they’ve been pleased with the rapid, effective pivot most grantees have shown. The foundation is partnering with a CDFI to make small business and other loans, and they established a reference library that includes funding available for businesses, nonprofits and families. The foundation also offers a weekly Zoom mindfulness class for grantee staff.


Sheena Solomon, Gifford Foundation, NY. Sheena stands out in her work reaching out to grassroots community organizations in Syracuse, and providing capacity building. She serves on a citywide grants committee, and also on a business loan committee, and has a broad view of urban needs.


Janis ReischmannHau’oli Mau Loa Foundation, HI. The Hau’oli Mau Loa Foundation works in six program areas, mostly in Hawai‘i but to a much lesser extent, internationally. Through two of its program areas: Hope for Kids and Environmental Leadership Pathways, it supports cohorts of nonprofit organizations that provide young people with environmental education that is based in sustainable, culturally rooted practices and education and internships toward careers in the environmental field in Hawai‘i. Through its Field Building initiative, it also partners with a local CDFI to provide loans and technical assistance to community organizations.