COVID-19 knows no borders. Around the world, there are more than 1,900 community foundations many of whom are hard at work right now addressing COVID-19. Much like in Canadian communities, international community foundations are at the forefront of local responses to this global pandemic.
While we continue to track and map the community foundation response across Canada, we also wanted to share some of the ways international community foundations are creatively and effectively responding to COVID-19. As a network rooted in community actions, our interconnectedness and interdependence has never been more visible.
The United States
Since the advent of COVID-19 more than 200 community foundations in 49 states and the District of Columbia have raised hundreds of millions to support emergency response efforts. In New York, the current epicentre of the pandemic, the New York Community Trust is delivering a city-wide response and impact fund to provide grants and interest-free loans to support direct service providers working to help vulnerable New Yorkers with basic needs as well as community-focused arts and cultural organizations. From the Community Foundation of Greater Flint in Michigan, to the Black Belt Community Foundation in Alabama, to the Idaho Community Foundation, community foundations large and small are listening to their communities, building new partnerships and being bold in their response.
In Kenya, community foundations are supporting the response in local communities, and at the national level. In Nairobi, The Kilimani Project Foundation is a key source of public health information and is rolling out a nine-point Emergency Response Plan. Nationally, The Kenya Community Development Foundation and the East Africa Philanthropy Network are helping to coordinate philanthropy around the regional response.
In Australia, foundations are leading a coordinated effort through a recently launched national funding platform, launched as a collaboration between Australian Communities Foundation and Philanthropy Australia to connect Australian funders to the COVID-19 related funding needs of non-profit organisations across Australia.
“During this turbulent time, it’s important to remember that there is something every one of us can do to mitigate the impacts of this pandemic, particularly when our actions are guided by generosity, solidarity and community rather than fear and isolation.” – Australian Communities Foundation CEO, Maree Sidey
The Community Foundation of Singapore recently launched the Sayang Sayang Fund which has been providing transport vouchers to healthcare professionals, as well as other supports for community healthcare staff and charities serving vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19, such as seniors and low-income families.
The Podilska Hromada Community Foundation has partnered with the City of Vinnytsia to create a “Stop Virus” Fund. To oversee the delivery of the funds, there is a Supervisory Committee consisting of foundation staff, doctors, infection experts and representatives from the community. All funds raised will support healthcare needs in the community.
A partnership of community foundations, the British Red Cross, and the National Emergency Trust has emerged to address immediate needs in light of COVID-19 in a “Coronavirus Appeal”.
“Each of the 46 community foundations have an in-depth understanding of their local area, what the priority needs are and how best to address these issues, so they can ensure the funding goes where it is most needed and can make the most impact.” – National Emergencies Trust
In Egypt, the Waqfeyat al Maadi Community Foundation have launched a fundraising and social media campaign to encourage everyone to work from home, and to directly support home-based employment outcomes for those affected by COVID-19.
The St. Petersburg Community Foundation (“Kind City of St. Petersburg” Charity Foundation) is working in partnership with the The Bright Life Charitable Foundation, the municipality and regional charities to support the mental and physical health and wellbeing of senior citizens in the wake of COVID-19 and to combat social isolation and loneliness.
The Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland surveyed community foundations across Europe to learn how they have been addressing COVID19. The results were published in this report. Similar to in Canada, community foundations are launching response funds, convening partners and grantees, and providing flexible granting.
The community foundation of Convivamos is sharing examples of local community efforts involving community groups the Plataforma Puente Cultura Viva Comunitaria and the Red Colombiana de Teatro en Comunidad to directly reach people in their neighbourhoods, especially in relation to community arts initiatives. Among the developments in their community, local groups are working to reassign budget items for the Ministry of Culture and create a national program supporting live cultural events.