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Making a pivot due to changes.

The past several weeks have seen impressive and quick pivots by many funders adapting to the new environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Case in point – there are now more than 300 community response and relief funds organized by foundations, United Ways and other organizations. Learn More

Many funders have streamlined application and reporting requirements, and are making funding available now to their nonprofit partners through flexible payment schedules.  Still others are giving grantees the OK to convert previously-approved project grants to general operating funding.

Here are a few recent examples of pivots by funders that have caught my eye.  PS:  If you are a funder who hasn’t yet taken at least some of these steps to support your grantees during these extraordinary times, call me – we need to talk!

One of the more humane and grounded messages to grantees comes from a former boss of mine, Dave Abbott, Executive Director at the George Gund Foundation in Cleveland (Learn More):

If you have a special purpose or project grant from us and it would be more helpful to use those funds for operations, feel free to do so.  We ask only that you let us know.
We are extending grant report due dates until September 30 for those who have an earlier deadline.  And if greater flexibility is needed, we will work with you.  Please ignore any automated notices you may receive from our grants management system.

The Lumina Foundation, a national funder, conveyed a similar spirit when President and CEO Jamie Merisotis reached out to their partners:

We can talk about adjusting, delaying, or waiving terms and timelines of any grant or contract (including interim and final reports) so that you can put your focus where it needs to be right now. We will do what’s best for you and the work to ensure the continued strength of our partners—and the best outcomes.

Jamie’s message also offered to accelerate payments for existing grants to help Lumina’s partners maintain sufficient cash flow.

Small- and medium-sized foundations and donors are stepping up to the plate as well in quickly adapting to circumstances and help the nonprofit community:

Several executives from small- and mid-sized foundations share how their respective organizations are responding to the “now” and preparing for the near-future: