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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – In the face of the immense challenges and hardships presented by COVID-19, how can those with private foundations and donor-advised funds effectively respond?

“The carefully considered decisions donors made just weeks ago about how much to distribute and what to fund may suddenly seem out of step with the current crisis,” said Page Snow, chief philanthropic officer of Foundation Source, the nation’s largest provider of support services to private foundations. “The world has changed, and donors may need to change their plans along with it.”

Foundation Source offers the following giving tips to those with private foundations and donor-advised funds:

Supporting Current Grantees

  • Check in on them. Has COVID-19 altered their organization? If yes, what do they need from donors?
  • Extend current funding. Fund them another six months or a year to help ensure financial stability.
  • Offer untied funding. Loosen restrictions or payment schedules on your current and future gifts.
  • Simplify reporting. Lower or remove your reporting requirements to ease administrative burdens.
  • Invest in capacity building. Support their infrastructure (e.g., technology) to improve their efficiency.

Supporting New Organizations

To directly combat COVID-19 and aid its victims, here are some ways to help:

  • Act locally. Fund regional relief organizations. Giving Compass has a vetted list.
  • Provide direct support to those who need it most. Private foundations can make grants directly to individuals and families (instead of to charities) without seeking prior approval from the IRS.
  • Prioritize frontline workers and the most vulnerable. Fund childcare and other support services for essential workers as well as seniors, the homeless, and other vulnerable groups.
  • Fund emergent needs. Support long-term change such as investments in public health, paid leave, and other protections for workers.
  • Consider debt relief. As bills pile up for millions of out-of-work Americans, help erase their onerous medical or student debt.
  • Make program-related investments (PRIs). As long as it’s for a charitable purpose, private foundations can make PRI loans, loan guarantees, and equity investments to nonprofits and for-profit companies. In the current context, these PRIs could be used to help manufacture face masks or construct field hospitals and shelters.

For additional tips and insight from Foundation Source, visit here.

About Foundation Source (

Foundation Source is the nation’s largest provider of comprehensive support services for private foundations. Our complete outsourced solution includes foundation creation (as needed), administrative support, active compliance monitoring, philanthropic advisory, tax and legal expertise, and online foundation management tools.

Approaching our third decade, Foundation Source provides its services to more than 1,650 family, corporate, and professionally staffed foundations, of all sizes, nationwide. We work in partnership with wealth management firms, law firms, accounting firms, and family offices as well as directly with individuals and families. Foundation Source is headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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