By Nicolette Silva, JD
Director of Donor Relations
This article also appeared in the May/June 2021 Edition of the Clearwater Bar Association’s Res Ipsa Loquitur
The nonprofit sector was one of the hardest-hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who were usually lending a helping hand to others suddenly found themselves needing help. To meet this need, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay created its Nonprofit Needs List, a centralized list of local nonprofits’ greatest needs and the specific dollar amounts needed to fund each project. Over the past year, nonprofits submitted more than 1,000 urgent and emerging needs.
The Nonprofit Needs List became a resource where community members, philanthropists, and other funders could look when they wanted to provide assistance to those struggling due to the pandemic. Ultimately, the Community Foundation provided 458 grants to 207 nonprofit organizations that submitted requests through the Nonprofit Needs List. Many more nonprofits received contributions directly from philanthropists who viewed the list.
These grants were funded by existing donor-advised funds or family foundations held at the Community Foundation, with some matching funds provided by the Community Foundation and the Tampa Bay Rapid Response Fund. The Community Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue and Humana seeded the Rapid Response Fund, which is designed to address nonprofits’ immediate and mid- to long-term needs through grants to local nonprofits.
Nearly every aspect of nonprofit service was covered with these grants. Nonprofits providing basic needs, such as food, housing, transportation and childcare, received the highest amount of funding support. Nonprofits that provided health and wellbeing services received the second-highest amount of support, followed by nonprofits working in education.
As a new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic is reached, the Nonprofits Needs List has been deactivated. The Community Foundation plans to launch a new tool to connect nonprofits and philanthropists later this year. As our communities begin to recover, there is still more work to be done. However, the pandemic response of local nonprofits—along with the generous support provided to those nonprofits by philanthropists, businesses, and volunteers—is an accomplishment that our community should be proud of. It also serves as a reminder that we can get through anything if we support one another.
About the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
Founded in 1990, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay connects donors, nonprofits, community and business leaders, professional advisors, volunteers and residents to make the maximum positive impact in the Tampa Bay region. For 30 years, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay has been dedicated to making giving easy and meaningful for donors as a way to strengthen nonprofit organizations and build a better, more vibrant community. Since its inception, its donors have enabled the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to award nearly $250 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the country. Learn more at CFTampaBay.org.