Connecting philanthropy with community’s needs during COVID-19

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has mobilized both its funding resources and its ability to connect to the community during the COVID-19 crisis by establishing collaborative tools to match local nonprofits’ needs with givers.

Since the crisis began less than a month ago, the Community Foundation has injected nearly $2 million into local nonprofits. And the numbers are growing as others — including businesses, foundations and individuals — respond to immediate requests from nonprofits that the Foundation has been gathering in a central location since March 25.

Nonprofit Needs List

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay created the Nonprofit Needs List, a centralized list of local nonprofits’ greatest needs during the pandemic and the specific dollar amounts needed to fund each project.

In just two weeks, the Nonprofit Needs List has collected more than $11 million in needs from more than 250 nonprofits across the Foundation’s five-county service area. Needs range from $500 to $1 million, and cover all aspects of nonprofit service.

“Some of the most immediate appear to be in basic needs, such as housing and food, resources for domestic violence, access to mental health services and alternative ways to engage and education students. We’re continuing to analyze the requests to see trends,” said Marlene Spalten, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. “Nonprofit leaders are being very creative in finding new ways to serve our community while maintaining the health of their staff and volunteers.”

Donors are encouraged to contact nonprofits on the Nonprofit Needs List directly to make a donation. The Foundation has offered matching incentives when its own fundholders contribute to a need on the list.

Tampa Bay Rapid Response Fund

Alternatively, donors can make a contribution to the Community Foundation’s Tampa Bay Rapid Response Fund, a trusted and reliable way to donate to relief efforts.

Organizations like Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue and Humana joined the Community Foundation in seeding the Rapid Response Fund with $175,000. The Community Foundation will direct the funds from the Rapid Response Fund to address immediate and mid- to long-term needs through grants to local nonprofits.

“As a community collaborator, we’re positioned to act quickly to support the local nonprofits who are best equipped to meet our community’s greatest needs,” said Spalten. “We’re helping philanthropists to connect with nonprofits, and multiplying their impact by matching their donations.”

Matching programs

An initial $183,000 has gone out almost immediately from existing donor-advised funds or family foundations held at the Community Foundation. Philanthropists who make a grant from their advised funds at the Community Foundation receive 1-to-3 match to increase the gift’s impact.

The Community Foundation also expedited $1.64 million in semiannual endowment distributions to 211 nonprofits that hold endowments with the Foundation. The nonprofits, with focuses ranging from arts and animal welfare to education, each received distributions ranging from $200 to nearly $60,000. Nonprofits often use the endowments for operating costs like staff salaries and mortgage payments.

Collaboration with SVP Tampa Bay

The Community Foundation is also supporting other organizations’ efforts to connect nonprofits with much-needed support. For example, the Community Foundation is sharing information about SVP Tampa Bay CARES, which gathers stories and data from nonprofits to create a community assessment of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. SVP Tampa Bay CARES connects nonprofits with potential donors and volunteers.

Read about the Community Foundation’s efforts in the Tampa Bay Times and 83 degrees, or listen to “PM Tampa Bay.” 

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