The announcement that over 600 US and international foundations pledged to increase their grants and loosen restrictions on current grants is welcome news to the many nonprofit organizations that depend on foundations and other sources for grants to provide services to the communities they serve.
On March 20, 2020, Nonprofit Quarterly reported on a “pledge of action” for changed practices in institutional philanthropy that was being spearheaded by the Ford Foundation and Trust-Based Philanthropy Project.
In just 48 hours, the list of foundations grew to over 200 that signed the pledge and, as of this publication, that list has grown to 630.
What’s in the pledge? Here is a list of the eight shared principles:
1. Loosen or eliminate restrictions on current grants. This may include converting project-based grants to unrestricted support, speeding up payments, and not holding grantees to delayed or canceled conferences, events, or even some project deliverables.
2. Make new grants as unrestricted as possible and support organizations created and led by the communities most impacted that they may not currently fund.
3. Postpone reporting requirements and site visits and an overall reduction in some of the demands on grantees’ time during this challenging time.
4. Contribute to community-based emergency response funds to address the health and economic needs of those most impacted by the pandemic.
5. Communicate proactively and regularly about decision-making and response.
6. In recognition of the fact that answers on how to address the expanding needs borne from the COVID-19 pandemic will not come from them, foundations agreed to commit to listening to their partners and especially to those communities that are least heard.
7. Where possible, support grantee partners that advocate for policy changes to fight the pandemic and deliver an equitable response for all. Some examples of policy changes include paid sick leave and access to affordable healthcare. Learn from these emergency practices and share within the field for future adjustments to build more effective partnerships and philanthropic support.
8. It is expected that some foundations may add their own commitments. For example, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation committed to an additional year of funding for its current grantees.
For more information and a complete alphabetical list of foundations that joined the pledge, visit this dedicated page on the Council of Foundations website.