How are Exponent Philanthropy members responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Your fellow funders are sharing their ideas like those below via our online General Discussion Community. We encourage you to subscribe and join the conversation.

Starting Friday March 20 at 2pm ET, and every Friday in the coming weeks, Exponent Philanthropy will host a live discussion for all lean funders to connect around response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Suspend the current formal grant cycle for May and award all 36 grantees 50% of their annual grants. In November we will award the other 50%. This provides all of our grantees some assistance at this critical time, not just those in the May grant cycle.
  • Use Electronic Fund Transfers for the grant awards. We have everyone’s banking information, so this is easy and doable.
  • Communicate our intentions to the grantees immediately, assuring them of our care and support.
  • Suspend all scheduled grantee phone calls to review our May grant applications. All non-essential communication is a burden at this time as EDs wrestle with staff safety, client safety, finances, and facilities.
  • Extend the timeline to 2021 for all capacity-building work already underway.
  • Compile and share resources to help nonprofit leaders during this anxious time.
  • Staying at home and coordinating with my local food banks and local foundations and all local resources to see what plans are being set in place to help the community. I have been doing online donations to food pantries and other programs that will provide assistance to our communities, including delivery of supplies to those in need. 
  • We’ve suspended all in-person meetings and site visits and will replace them with video conferences using Zoom. 
  • Sending daily “current state” communications to my board members.
  • Moved all materials needed for next month that were housed on internal server (after concerns of VPN capacity) to Microsoft Teams and One Drive.
  • Convening local funder calls every other day. Also sent a 6 question needs assessment to all nonprofits in our region to assess needs. Asking nonprofits to share top 3 challenges right now in the categories of serving clients, staffing and operations. Also can share needs (urgent, short-term, and long-term). These will inform efficient strategies to share at next funder call scheduled for Wednesday. One thing that came up was the implication of volunteers not supporting the workforce. One of our food banks is losing 200 volunteers a day at a time when volunteers are more critical than ever.
  • Almost half our yearly giving is for operating support and capacity building. Exploring how we expand that to address emerging needs.
  • Prioritizing funding capacity within the community so we don’t all double down on the first issue (e.g., food, testing).

Still have questions?

Members can access staff experts through our Q&A service by calling 202-580-6560, or post a question to the member community to hear form peers in the field.

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