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COVID-19 Weekly Update: March 19, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear SCG Community, 

As we continue to face the unprecedented realities of the COVID-19 outbreak, we hope you and your loved ones are staying well. In the last couple of days, Southern California Grantmakers has brought together our communities to share knowledge, coordinate resources, and support our most vulnerable communities. During this crisis, SCG's emergency mission is to mobilize philanthropy to respond rapidly, effectively, and equitably to the COVID-19 pandemic, by fostering inclusive collaboration, learning, and bold actions. 

In the coming weeks, SCG will continue to be a critical partner to philanthropy by virtually convening funders across the state for timely programs, tracking the latest emergency funds, staying connected with government agencies, and elevating the needs of our local nonprofits and communities. To provide you with the most up-to-date information, we will temporarily suspend our monthly Corporate Brief and Public Policy Roundup, and transition my platform on the SCG President's Message to a weekly COVID-19 newsletter. 

This past week, SCG created online gatherings for over 800 funders to exchange ideas. You will find below key takeaways and actions from our webinars and first weekly funders' briefing call.

Additionally, we invite our members to join the SCG EXCHANGE for Urgent-Need Grants online portal, which was designed by our family foundation members to share time-sensitive funding opportunities in their communities.

Lastly, we have been inspired by your timely actions to strengthen communities. In this week's updates, read about SCG members who are building flexibility and resilience into their grantmaking, in addition to a new set of COVID-19 response funds. 

In solidarity with you during these trying times,

Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers  


How Philanthropy Can Support Local Solutions During School Closures

 Grantmakers for Education, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and Southern California Grantmakers hosted a webinar to discuss the needs of Los Angeles students during this crisis, ways for philanthropy to support, and opportunities for government coordination. Watch the recorded webinar below or review our high-level notes. 


Southern California Funders Weekly Briefing on COVID-19 (March 19) 

SCG began hosting weekly funder briefings in an effort to support the critical work of our members and ensure coordination regarding community needs and collaboration opportunities across our region. This week, we heard from The California Endowment, St. Joseph Health Community Partnership Fund, Center for Strategic Partnerships, and United Way of Greater Los Angeles to share their rapid response efforts.


How Philanthropy Can Support and Enhance the Government Response to COVID-19

Last week, Philanthropy California hosted a webinar to clarify how the government has organized its response to COVID-19 and how philanthropy can support and augment leadership on all levels while emphasizing community resiliency and support for our most vulnerable community members. View the webinar below or read our high-level notes. 


Kathleen Kelly Janus—Senior Advisor on Social Innovation to Governor Gavin Newsom and one of our webinar speakers—followed her presentation with "COVID19: What Philanthropy Can Do," which provides numerous ways for philanthropy to support community needs, innovation, and interventions alongside the statewide response. 




The SCG EXCHANGE for Urgent-Need Grants is an online space for SCG members to share urgent-need funding opportunities—such as emergency funding, matching grants, or other time-sensitive situations—with each other. SCG members may post time-sensitive funding needs for vetted nonprofits or on behalf of other external organizations that neither you nor your organization will directly benefit from. Click below to learn more or join the Exchange. 



Along with our members and philanthropic colleagues, SCG has been thinking about how COVID-19 will impact our sector in the long and short terms, and how to bolster nonprofit resilience. The following examples highlight a few foundations in the SCG network and beyond who have reached out to their community partners during this crisis to support capacity building, offer more flexibilities, and embody a spirit of partnership between funders and grantees. Have you sent out similar messages? We would love to help amplify your strategies. 


Rapid Response Funds for Nonprofit Operations

In addition to the public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, the outbreak has also caused a considerable economic strain on our communities and partners. To address the financial strain felt by nonprofit, the Heising-Simons Foundation set up a rapid response fund to offset the costs incurred for disruptions to operations as a result of the outbreak. Similarly, the Women's Foundation of California established the Community Power Fund to help current grantees maintain their operations and adapt to the health and financial impacts caused by COVID-19.

Flexible Grants and Timelines

To help organizations respond to the needs of their staff members and communities, Weingart Foundation continues to provide Unrestricted Operating Support to nonprofits, adjusts project-based grant timelines, and can increase or accelerate approved grant payments. The Eisner Foundation is converting any restricted funds to general operating support, in addition to suspending all reporting requirements until further notice. The California Endowment's grantees can benefit from relaxed grant restrictions or advancing a scheduled grant payment. The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation added one additional year of funding to every grant to ease some funding concerns and allow nonprofits to focus on serving their communities.

Trust-Based Philanthropy

Philanthropy needs to trust nonprofits now more than ever. Join Philanthropy California and the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project for the first of a six-webinar series to learn how a trust-based approach can be particularly effective in supporting nonprofit partners in concrete, meaningful ways. 



The following SCG members have launched funds in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

The California Community Foundation
Inland Empire Community Foundation
Latino Community Foundation
Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles
Santa Barbara Foundation
The Fund 
Ventura County Community Foundation
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Our team vetted various national, statewide, and regional response funds to help you direct resources to the most vulnerable communities. Please click below to see the full list, which is updated on a daily basis. We hope that it will help you stay informed and support families, businesses, community-based organizations, and others during this crisis.




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