27 Mar Local philanthropy’s response to the new COVID-19 crisis
Recap of GPP weekly webinar – 3/25/20
Thirty members participated in the first GPP webinar on COVID-19. As of the prior afternoon, there were 342 cases in South Carolina, seven deaths, and 39 cases in Greenville County. Even though it is likely just the beginning of Greenville County’s experience of the crisis, the local economy has already taken a huge hit with the ordered closing of restaurants and advisement against three or more people gathering outside of the home.
Funders were eager to learn how to help and collaborate. Katy Smith with GPP shared best practices from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy on funding in times of disaster.
- Take the long view. Once the crisis phase of a disaster is over, rebuilding and recovery will be important. Funders and philanthropists need to be there for the short term, mid term, and long term.
- Help in places and ways that government cannot. Philanthropy has the opportunity to be more nimble than government can be and able to fill in the cracks that government misses.
- All funders are disaster philanthropists. Even if a funder or donor hasn’t named disaster as a focus area, disasters impact all of the things that are in their mission, whether education, early child hood, aging, arts, workforce, or anything else important to the community.
- Support the sharing of best practices. All hands involved in supporting Greenville during this crisis are learning so much. Funders can help them connect, learn, and improve during this time.
- Connect with other funders. We are stronger together, so by sharing information and pooling dollars, we can go further.
- Look to past disasters for guidance. We’ve learned a great deal as a nation and as a state from previous natural and civic disasters. The example of the OneSC Fund is already helping us do things effectively this time around.
- Ask the experts. There are national resources who can guide us in this work. GPP is here to help make those connections on behalf of our members.
We surveyed GPP members prior to the meeting about their giving plans as COVID emerges. Of our 15 anonymous responses, 8 people said they have considered changes in their funding practices and 5 have already made changes. Most people have decided to make new funds available to organizations affected by COVID-19 in some way. This included contributing to pooled funds to support COVID-19 impacts in our community/state, mostly through United Way’s efforts, making guidelines more loose for current grantees, and considering impact investments.