As the world confronts a global health crisis and critical changes in the economy, philanthropists are considering what role they can play to mitigate the detrimental impact on their key stakeholders. Here are some resources and strategies to consider:

Webinar: How Foundations Can provide emergency support to individuals

If you’d like to learn how private foundations can make grants directly to individuals in response to COVID-19, please attend our free webinar, How Foundations Can Provide Emergency Support to Individuals. During this presentation, Foundation Source Chief Legal Officer Jeffrey D. Haskell and Chief Philanthropic Officer Page Snow will review the “nuts and bolts” of giving emergency assistance. They will also go over the form that Foundation Source developed for its clients to streamline the process and make it easier to comply with IRS guidelines.

Tuesday, April 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Click Here to Register


As we confront the growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to share information about one of the most useful capabilities of a private foundation: the ability to grant directly to individuals and families in case of disaster, medical emergency, or financial hardship.

This article explains that there’s no need to set up a separate nonprofit in order to deliver tax-advantaged funds to people who suddenly find themselves out of work and burdened with bills they can’t pay. And because foundations don’t need to seek prior approval from the IRS to make these grants, they can respond to this growing need quickly.

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General REsources

Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

information for funders

Council on Foundations Resource Hub

National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)

The Philanthropy Roundtable

United Philanthropy Forum

Regional Response funds

These two organizations update the growing list of regional response funds.

Giving Compass

National Center For Family Philanthropy

Also refer to state health department websites.

On-Demand Webinar: Disaster Philanthropy: A Starting Point

Foundation Source and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy are pleased to offer this on-demand webinar: Disaster Philanthropy: A Starting Point! Join us as we discuss the unique role that private foundations can play in mitigating the impact of natural and man-made crises.

Presented by:

Elizabeth Wong, Senior Philanthropic Director, Foundation Source

Regine A. Webster, Vice President, Center for Disaster

Click Here to View Webinar

Ask Your Grantees and Partners about Critical Needs

Foundations have partnerships with nonprofit organizations that are on the front lines of delivering much-needed services, conducting important research, and developing new and important approaches to persistent social problems. These partners are an excellent resource for how to help. Seek out their input. Learn from these partners what the greatest needs are, whether it is more support for food bank or shelters, scientific research, or funding for ongoing efforts to address problems that will not lessen during these crises.

Be Flexible in Your Funding Methods

Difficult times often require different approaches. Foundations that typically provide project support might consider general operating support as a method to support organizations through these particularly challenging economic times. While the government and private sectors are seeking out ways to support income loss for individuals that has resulted from COVID-19 or market volatility, private foundations might focus their attention on income loss experienced by nonprofit organizations. Consider your grantees who have had to cancel their main annual fundraisers and the impact that this loss of income will have on their ability to support individuals in need. For example, a quick turn-around general operating support grant could enable a food bank to keep its doors open and feed the increased numbers of clients who will face food scarcity as businesses and schools temporarily close.

In addition to providing support for immediate needs, private foundations play an important role in supporting medium- and long-term efforts.