The City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Foundation (PF), and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) today announced the PHL COVID-19 Fund, to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic, providing urgent resources throughout the Philadelphia region.
“The pandemic is placing extraordinary stress on our city and region, particularly on already strained community organizations that help our most vulnerable residents, and we must work urgently to provide them with greater financial support,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “This is an unprecedented time demanding an unparalleled unified response. The Fund is a shining example of government, philanthropy, and business coming together to respond to the immediate demands of our community and adapt to this evolving challenge. If you have the means to give, I urge you to support our nonprofits serving residents who need it most.”
The PHL COVID-19 Fund, found at PHLCOVID19Fund.org, will rapidly provide grants to Greater Philadelphia non-profit organizations with a successful track record of serving at-risk populations such as seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are experiencing homelessness or are economically disadvantaged. These grants will allow the nonprofits to continue providing community safety nets such as food pantries and health services, as well as preparedness and protection services, such as hygiene supplies and access to accurate information.
“We have never known a time more important than now to come together to marshal the muscle and means that reside throughout our region in response to the national emergency that is ferociously challenging all of us,” said Pedro Ramos, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. “Supporting the nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of our communities is vital to immediately provide assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors who are at risk and have the greatest needs. This fund is essential to getting resources in good and expert hands who have the power to help. Equally important, it is emblematic of the collective will required to overcome the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19.”
“Whether the challenge is providing food for the hungry, shelter for those experiencing homelessness, or the pursuit of greater economic opportunity, nonprofit organizations deliver for our community,” said Bill Golderer, President and CEO of UWGPSNJ. “We understand the importance of investing in these vital organizations and are committed to being a leader in times like these – for resources, for technical assistance, and for the courage and confidence to press on in the face of great adversity. In a time when it is prudent to practice social distancing, we need to find ways to support and strengthen those on the frontlines and provide them with various means of support.”
During this crisis, many community service organizations will see a significant increase in the demands placed on their services which could include food insecurity, childcare disruption, economic insecurity, and challenges accessing healthcare. While others will be overwhelmed by increased needs, the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Foundation and UWGPSNJ are uniquely positioned to discern who needs help, when, how much, and what type.
The Fund is designed to complement the work of regional public health officials and expand local capacity to address the outbreak as efficiently as possible. “We know that we are in the very earliest stages of this crisis,” Golderer added. “While there is an urgency today to increase funding for these resource-constrained organizations, the road to recovery will be even longer when we get to the other side of this immediate crisis.”
The PHL COVID-19 Fund is being kick-started with $6.4 million in funding, including a $3 million lead gift from the William Penn Foundation, thanks to the generous donations of partners (see below), demonstrating the power of all sectors working together in a unified effort.
Fund leadership, along with a diverse coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners, will continue to raise funding for nonprofits working at the frontline of the crisis. Anyone can contribute by visiting phlcovid19fund.org/covid-19/covid-19-response-fund/.
The PHL COVID-19 Fund will help combat the unique challenges that COVID-19 poses to increasing services including the ability to:
Reduce administrative burden
Minimize overhead costs
Increase delivery services
Procure protective gear
Leverage supportive technology
The PHL COVID-19 Fund is a joint venture between PF and UWGPSNJ, with Pedro Ramos and Bill Golderer serving as co-directors. Grants will be made collaboratively among UWGPSNJ, PF, and other invited philanthropic and community members through a civic leadership committee co-chaired by the two organizations and including community, government, and corporate leaders. This fund supports nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia Area—five Pennsylvania counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia) and five Southern New Jersey counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, and Cumberland).
A Rapid Grants Advisory Committee, comprised of selected community representatives and outside technical experts (e.g. academia and healthcare) will provide guidance and expertise. In order to move resources quickly and not further burden organizations on the front-lines of the pandemic, the Fund asks for a simple request form and dispenses without the usual formal grant application process.
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