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News & Information: COViD 19

Philanthropy's Response to COVID-19: 3 Foundation Leaders Discuss Priorities

Friday, April 10, 2020   (0 Comments)
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by Nonprofit Quarterly and Jeanne Bell | April 10, 2020


As the public sector works furiously to contain the health crisis and the resulting economic slowdown of COVID-19, many advocates are calling on foundations for bold and decisive action of their own. From simplifying grant-seeking processes to doubling payout, the calls for foundations to step up continue to grow in number and volume. 

What is the right response from foundations? How are they balancing multiple factors: their commitments to existing grantees, their contributions to wider COVID-19 responses, and the impact of the economic slowdown on their asset levels? What strategies do foundation leaders see working so far? What do they hope their peers will do more of—and less of? And what is their guidance to grant-seekers in these uncharted waters?

We’ll explore:

  • How philanthropic leaders view foundations’ particular role in a crisis of this scale.
  • What steps foundations are taking now to support nonprofits, movements, and communities.
  • How emergency shifts in philanthropic practice can highlight potential long-term improvements to how philanthropy works.
  • How nonprofit leaders should approach foundations in this time of both high need and high demand for support.


  • Sam Cobbs, Chief Executive Officer, Tipping Point Community (Panelist)
  • Justin Maxson, CEO, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (Panelist)
  • Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President, Ford Foundation (Panelist)
  • Jeanne Bell, Director, Advancing Practice, Nonprofit Quarterly (Moderator)

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