The Philanthropic Initiative's Response to COVID-19

The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) responded quickly to gather information and to help direct philanthropy and social investments to where they are most needed during this challenging time. TPI has written a series of blog posts on philanthropy’s role in responding to the global health pandemic, including 6 Questions for Funders to Consider During the COVID-19 Crisis. We have also created a resource page with philanthropy guidance, thought leadership, funder perspectives, and webinars.

TPI is supporting foundations and donors to map the field and identify where there are gaps in funding and/or greatest need. Some issue areas have included supporting frontline health and service workers, youth development programs, food security, education, cash assistance, grassroots movements, response funds, and vaccine development. We are working with a variety of TPI clients to facilitate selective changes in funding practices that include open communication with grantees, relaxation of grant conditions and grant reporting timelines, accelerated decisions on renewal grants, emergency grants to grantees and COVID-19 relief funds, and exploration of longer-term recovery and rebuilding strategies. We are also working at the local, national, and international levels to improve collaboration, knowledge sharing, and other philanthropic responses. As one example, the Haiti Development Institute (HDI), housed at TPI, has created a COVID-19 response fund to help prevent the spread of the virus in Haiti. In addition, as an operating unit of the Boston Foundation, TPI has supported the Foundation’s grantmaking work through its COVID-19 Response Fund.

Overall, TPI’s clients have responded to the crisis in very significant ways locally, nationally, and globally. While clients are taking different approaches, they have awarded or are planning to award more than $20,000,000 in emergency COVID-19 relief as of early June. Many TPI clients have also increased their giving to grantee partners, or made grant agreements more flexible to help them pivot their operations during this time.

A number of TPI clients are giving to global intermediary organizations without restricting the specific country. Examples include Agroecology Fund’s COVID-19 Emergency Response funding pool, Partners in Health, Direct Relief, GiveDirectly’s Africa emergency cash relief fund, Save the Children, and International Rescue Committee. In addition, TPI's clients have supported COVID-19 relief efforts in Israel and Haiti and is partnering with Haiti Development Institute on their relief fund.