Submittable Spotlight: Giving in Response to COVID-19

03/20/2020

Amidst the overwhelm of frightening news regarding coronavirus, stories of remarkable human generosity offer hope and inspiration. We thought it might be nice to share a few actions in response to COVID-19 from the world of CSR, foundations, and grantmaking. 

The following organizations have each acted with urgency, opening much-needed grant opportunities right away through Submittable. Their teams are focused on streamlined applications and quick turnaround time for funding decisions, so that the people and groups needing help can get it quickly. And helping them helps all of us.

Artist Trust

COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund in response to COVID-19For artists impacted financially by COVID-19 in Washington State, Artist Trust has launched rapid response grants through the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Applications are being accepted for unrestricted cash grants between $500 and $5,000, with grantees being selected on a weekly basis.

Washington State artists can seek to recoup funds lost to cancellations, closures, and medical expenses. They can also apply for assistance with lost wages and to help pay for living expenses including rent, mortgage, food, and utilities.

Artist Relief

From event cancellations and lost work to new caretaking responsibilities and medical needs, many artists are facing hard times during the coronavirus pandemic. Formed in mid-March as a coalition of seven organizations with seed funding from groups including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Artist Relief is awarding $5,000 grants to practicing artists in dire need from a fund of $10 million. 

For others looking to launch emergency grants quickly, coalition organizers advise that groups pay attention to community needs, pool resources, aim to mobilize rapidly, and streamline requirements. As they told Submittable, 

Knowing that the need greatly outweighs the opportunities currently available, we set out to help as many artists as possible, as quickly as we could. We designed the application process with those goals in mind.

Bread & Roses Community Fund

Bread & Roses Logo in response to COVID-19Now more than ever, communities of color and marginalized groups of all kinds need the support that comes from grassroots organizing. Unfortunately, circumstances surrounding COVID-19 make it especially challenging for this work to take place,

Serving the Philadelphia region, Bread & Roses Community Fund has opened a Solidarity Fund for COVID-19 Organizing to address this issue. The fund will be dedicated to supporting grassroots work focused on racial, social, and economic justice. Emergency grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to new, existing, and established grassroots community organizing groups.

Brooklyn Community Foundation

In alignment with their vision for “a fair and just Brooklyn,” and in response to dangers and inequities faced by communities of color resulting from the coronavirus, the Brooklyn Community Foundation recently launched the Brooklyn COVID-19 Reponse Fund. The grant application is short (two questions for current and returning grantees and four for new ones) to help get money on the ground faster.

Funds will go to support community-led nonprofit organizations that are working for racial equity and serving those directly impacted by outcomes related to COVID-19. 

According to Vice President of Programs and Partnerships Marcella J. Tillett:

We are Brooklyn's community foundation. This is how we're showing up. We're focusing, as we do with all of our work, on the communities that have historically been the most marginalized. We know that in times of emergency, they are the first hit and usually have the deepest, longest impact.

City of Boston Arts and Culture

Creative individuals whose income relies on events, exhibitions, gigs, and freelance work have been directly affected by cancellations and closures related to COVID-19. To support this community, the City of Boston Arts and Culture Department created the Boston Artist Relief Fund.

Individual artists whose practices and livelihoods have been impacted by the coronavirus can seek grants of $500 and $1000. Funds can be directed towards a variety of needs including the recouping of financial loss linked to cancelled events and travel, lost income by teaching artists, and artists who work in the service industry.

Claire’s Place Foundation

Serving the cystic fibrosis (CF) community, Claire’s Place Foundation is a grassroots nonprofit that has established an Emergency COVID Campaign Fund. According to foundation board member and CF physician Dr. Richard K. Mathis,

People with CF are in the highest risk category and are at grave risk if infected with COVID-19, as CF is a chronic and terminal illness affecting the lungs.

Within four days of launching the grant fund, the foundation had exhausted their resources. However, fundraising is ongoing and Claire’s Place Foundation plans to continue supporting the CF community in response to COVID-19 by offering grocery cards, supplies, and access to medications. The foundation has also added a special emergency fund application for hospital professionals.

Dance/NYC

Dance NYC in response to COVID-19To serve the dance community in New York City in response to COVID-19, Dance/NYC has launched a Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund. With support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance, funding is available for individual freelance dancers and dancing-making organizations negatively affected by the outbreak, particularly through loss of income and revenue.

In keeping with its mission-focuses on justice, equity, and inclusion, Dance/NYC will prioritize requests from disproportionately impacted communities. Fundraising will be ongoing and as of the March 24, 2020, $420,000 has been collected in emergency relief funds.

Facebook Journalism Project

Facebook Journalism ProjectNow more than ever, accurate and updated COVID-19 news needs to travel fast. However, many individual reporters, newsrooms, and publishers need funding to keep up with record demand for real-time content.

Launched March 17, in a partnership between Facebook, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, and the Local Media Association, Facebook Journalism Project Community Network Grants will support COVID-19-related local news with up to $2 million dollars. This funding was designated for independent journalists and news organizations in the U.S. and Canada with immediate needs related to coronavirus reporting. On April 7, $100 million dollars of further investment in local news was announced, with grants specifically for news organizations of $25,000-$100,000 opening April 13.

According to Cheryl Thompson-Morton, Program Manager for The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, collaboration between her organization, Facebook, and the Local Media Association had been well-established, making it possible to launch these grants fast. “Having the partnership already in place,” says Thompson-Morton, “made it easier to deploy resources to this emergency and act quickly.”

As she observes,

We were able to use the framework that we use for our other community grant programs as the basis for this and make changes that were appropriate for a high velocity grant. We built off what we already had in place. If we hadn’t had those assets, I think it would have been a lot harder to deploy grants so quickly.

Frankie Manning Foundation

Focused on supporting struggling Lindy Hop practitioners, the Frankie Manning Foundation (FMF) has created a COVID-19 Emergency Support Program. Although the foundation is usually dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Lindy hop and founder Frankie Manning while spreading contemporary love for the dance, in this moment, efforts are focused on helping full-time Lindy hoppers impacted by the pandemic.

FMF emergency support is available for Lindy hop practitioners whose livelihoods have been taken away by COVID-19 related cancellations. Funding awards can be used for necessities like rent, food, and childcare.

Fund for Investigative Journalism

FIJ logoEven though the pandemic necessitates serious news coverage on the fly, in-depth reporting (the kind of investigation that takes time and resources) is just as essential now as it ever was. To this end, The Fund of Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has created a Corona Virus Rolling Grant for US freelancers to support ground-breaking stories on coronavirus and investigative work to uncover wrongdoing in the private and public sector.

According to Director of Operations Ana Arana, “Like many nonprofits, we’re not staffed to a maximum. We have one full-time person and two part-timers but this is a moment for us, like other nonprofits and NGOs, when we’re going into our reserves to give back to our community.”

The timeline for this funding opportunity is distinct from those FIJ has overseen in the past, serving as a testament to the board’s commitment. As Arana says,

Our board members are all working investigative journalists themselves so we had to think it through. We came up with a new operating idea for this grant: the number one thing is that it's going to be approved within 10 days of submission, which is very different from the way we have done our other grants.

Oklahoma Restaurant Association

Restaurant industry professionals are being inordinately impacted by the coronavirus epidemic, from closures and the rush to coordinate takeout and delivery programs to the swift loss of income for service industry workers.

The Oklahoma Restaurant Association, in partnership with the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, launched an Employee Relief Fund in response to COVID-19 to support eligible Tulsa food and beverage workers with $1,000 during the crisis. The association is also doing free promotion for state-wide restaurants with takeout programs to further assist the industry.

Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network

IFCN logoThe importance of accurate information in this historical moment can’t be overstated. Especially with the pressure to share content rapidly, supporting fact-checkers and fighting misinformation is essential.

To this end, The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), a unit of the Poynter Institute, has partnered with Facebook to offer $1 million dollars in flash funds as part of their Fact-Checking Grant Program. This support will go to fund the review of content by professionals world-wide, in coordination with the #CoronaVirusFactsAlliance that includes fact-checkers in 45 countries. The IFCN is seeking a variety of proposals, including those focused on translation, multimedia, and collaboration with scientists, health experts, and public authorities.

Working together, quickly, in response to COVID-19 

Please consider supporting the work of these organizations or others in your community dedicated to distributing emergency resources. We’ll be updating this post with more corporate giving, foundation, nonprofit, and grant opportunities as we become aware of them. If you’re using Submittable for a funding opportunity you want us to share, please be in touch. If you’d like to explore how Submittable can support you in giving back quickly in response to COVID-19 or otherwise, we’re here to help. We’re also looking out for those needing to launch emergency grants with grant management software or collaborate remotely as a team

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is Senior Editor for Submittable's Marketing Team. She also writes and teaches poetry. You can find Rachel's creative work here: rachelmindell.com