Foundations loosen grant restrictions, giving more in response to COVID

Volunteers and staff pack fresh local food for veterans at HelloFresh Veterans Day Packing Event in Brooklyn.
Volunteers and staff pack fresh local food for veterans at HelloFresh Veterans Day Packing Event in Brooklyn.
lev radin / Shutterstock
Volunteers and staff pack fresh local food for veterans at HelloFresh Veterans Day Packing Event in Brooklyn.

Foundations loosen grant restrictions, giving more in response to COVID

A new report found that two-thirds of foundations have relaxed or eliminated restrictions for existing grants.
November 13, 2020

Two-thirds of foundations have loosened or eliminated restrictions on existing grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

The report, from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, also found that, of the 236 foundations surveyed, 57% had committed to making new grants as unrestricted as possible this year. Around 170 of the respondents had signed a pledge from the Council on Foundations that called on the philanthropic sector to offer flexible funding and other support to grantees throughout the pandemic. 

A majority of funders had also committed to giving more this year than initially planned. While about one-fifth of respondents had remained undecided about whether to do so, among those that did, 72% said they had or will increase grantmaking this year. Calls for foundations to give more to nonprofits have amplified because they’ve been so hard-hit by the economic downturn. Nonprofits have had to cancel fundraising events, lost earned income, and seen reduced government spending, putting some of them in an existential crisis. About 1,800 nonprofits in New York could close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one analysis by Candid.

“Looking ahead to 2021, especially as nonprofits that received forgivable loans through the federal Payment Protection Program spend down that funding, the question of whether foundation grantmaking levels will stay stable, increase, or decrease looms large,” the report reads. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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