Updated March 16, 2020.
Dear CCP Members,
Like you, we are closely following the advisories, updates, and impacts of the coronavirus in Connecticut and beyond.
We’ve decided to suspend all in-person meetings until further notice. Instead, we are holding discussions and programs virtually or rescheduling for later in the spring.
We have decided that moving forward with our annual conference in May is not appropriate at this time. We are exploring alternatives, and will most likely reschedule our annual gathering to be held later this year.
I have reached out to government and other leaders to let them know that the philanthropic community is monitoring this situation at the municipal and state levels, and that CCP can facilitate conversations with the philanthropic community to share updates and opportunities as necessary.
I know that the state is deeply engaged in planning and preparation. The issues that many of you have raised to me – the potential impacts of the coronavirus on children and their food security, low-income workers, child care centers, our health care system – are being discussed and explored by state leaders.
If you are aware of efforts to respond to these or other issues in Connecticut, please share them with me. CCP wants to continue to lead and support the philanthropic community by: sharing updates and information, liaising between the philanthropic and government sectors, sharing philanthropic opportunities to respond, and connecting and networking members, and partners, who may want to work together.
Nationally, many funders are taking action to address the coronavirus outbreak in ways that have included deep considerations of equity. Here are some actions that you can consider:
- Set up or contribute to a fund in the area(s) where your employees are located, to compensate workers who will be most impacted by a reduction in income due to changed workplace practices. As Dr. Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, advised in his op-ed, these funds can be used to compensate hourly workers without paid leave for their loss of income when sick, provide legal aid for those who are fired for not coming to work when ill, fund outreach to non-English speakers, supplement funding for community health centers that care for a large proportion of those without insurance, and ensure free meals are available for children when schools are closed. For example, a coalition of philanthropy, government, and business partners have created a COVID-19 Response Fund, hosted by Seattle Foundation, that will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the front-lines of the region’s coronavirus outbreak.
- If a nonprofit conference is cancelled, reach out to the conference organizer to see if they need financial assistance to recover from the losses of a cancelled conference. Nonprofit conference organizers often rely on sponsorships and registration fees as a key part of their revenue stream to maintain their financial health and sustainability.
- Reach out to your grantees to see how they’re doing and ask if they need any immediate assistance. The Heising-Simons Foundation has established a rapid response fund to offset unexpected costs incurred by its grantees for disruptions to operations as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Also engage your grantees in any longer-term changes in policy or practice that you may make in response to the coronavirus that would impact their work.
- Following the advice of AAPIP, proactively remind ourselves and those around us to not project fears of the virus onto marginalized groups or spread unfounded associations. People of Chinese heritage or those who look East Asian are not genetically predisposed to carry or spread the disease.
- Amid a stream of misinformation about the virus that is being shared in the public realm, step up to use your voice as a trusted source of reasoned, fact-based information for your communities.
There are three upcoming webinars related to coronavirus that may be of interest to you. In particular, you may want to join the Council on Foundations’ Funder to Funder Call: Sharing Approaches to COVID-19 Community Response. Details for those are below.
Please reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas for the CCP Team.
Emergency Call: COVID-19 and the Criminal Legal System | The Center for Popular Democracy (3/13/20)
How Philanthropy Can Support and Enhance the Government Response to COVID-19 | Philanthropy California (3/12/20)
Funder to Funder Call: Sharing Approaches to COVID-19 Community Response | Council on Foundations (3/12/20)