Coronavirus: How Philanthropy Can Prepare & Respond

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

GCG Blog post by Deb Dubin, CEO & President of Gateway Center for Giving.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses unique and daunting challenges. How can the philanthropic sector effectively contribute to the response?

Proactively plan: From a purely practical standpoint, while the spread and impact of the virus in the U.S. is unknown at this time, your philanthropic organization may want to consider plans for conducting operations in the face of public health challenges. Planning guides for community organizations are being developed, and an interim guide for businesses is now available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here at GCG, we’re thinking about our capabilities around remote learning and communication. We’re testing our technology and brainstorming ways to integrate virtual meeting platforms into our program delivery, and considering what tools we might need in order to provide ongoing information and resources to our Members.

Promote resilience: Dr. Lauren A. Smith, Co-CEO of FSG, shares lessons from her experience with previous viral outbreaks and provides details on some of the things that organized philanthropy can do now. For example: Check in with your grantees to see if they anticipate having extraordinary needs during this time. Will they need to alter their service delivery strategies? Consider the ways that you might provide flexibility around the emerging challenges that they will face.

Over the longer term, in light of battered financial markets, how will the current economic downturn affect your philanthropic capabilities and strategies? Lessons from the great recession of 2008 illustrate the need for thoughtful planning, as resources become less abundant and our communities’ needs increase.

Stay connected: Gateway Center for Giving is an engaged member of the United Philanthropy Forum, the largest and most diverse network of philanthropic organizations in America. As you strategize around your organization’s responses, you are not alone. Reach out and let us know if we can help.


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