BCF COVID-19 Response Update #3
April 10, 2020
Rapid Response Philanthropy
Let’s face it, philanthropy isn’t always known to be nimble. But the ability to do rapid response philanthropy to quickly and efficiently direct resources where they are needed most is exactly what is called for in an emergency such as the one we are facing with COVID-19.
A conversation that began just three short weeks ago between the United Way of Central Maryland and BCF generated the launch yesterday of the COVID-19 Response Funding Collaborative of Greater Baltimore with a group of eight funders in the Baltimore region. The Collaborative has developed a website— www.greaterbaltimorecovidresponse.org—for nonprofit organizations to submit a single application for funding to sustain, deepen, or pivot their operations to address critical needs in local communities resulting from the pandemic. Together these philanthropic organizations and families have committed to deploying at least $1.2 million to meet a wide range of urgent challenges communities are facing. And the number of funders participating, and thus resources committed, continues to grow.
Participating funders have committed to a rolling application process with weekly review of proposals, to ensure that nonprofit organizations that apply get timely responses to their requests for funding, and resources are deployed quickly. BCF is proud to be part of this effort, which we believe has the potential to be a model for rapid-response philanthropy in future, hopefully infrequent, emergencies. You can read more about the effort, and the participating funders, in this press release.
Evolving Community Needs Funds
While BCF staff were working with partners to create the Collaborative application process, we continued to deploy our grant making resources this week through our existing processes to meet urgent challenges. Building on the grants we made in the initial weeks of the crisis (see Update #2 for a listing), we deployed additional resources from our COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund.
This past week, BCF funding supported community-based food procurement and distribution efforts at fifteen locations around Baltimore City. We anticipate a larger, systemic response to the ongoing challenge of food insecurity from the public sector imminently. Thus, we continue to identify needs in addition to food that we can help address in the longer term. You may have seen the press regarding our support for ShareBaby, a nonprofit organization that will be distributing 500,000 diapers to 10,000 vulnerable children across Baltimore City.
BCF also awarded a grant to Baltimore Business Lending (BBL), a critical partner in BCF’s impact investing efforts. Since August of 2018, BBL has made 20 loans to 17 small businesses, disbursing just over $1 million in Baltimore City neighborhoods. The vast majority of those small business borrowers, many of which are restaurant or food-related businesses, are being directly and severely impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts. To assist them, BBL has deferred all principal and interest payments for 90 days. BCF’s grant to Baltimore Business Lending will help sustain BBL’s operations while it is not collecting payments from its borrowers. Over the coming weeks and months, BCF will look for opportunities for its impact investing to continue to support and sustain a local economy where all have the opportunity to thrive, through and post-COVID-19.
You can stay up to date about BCF’s evolving response to COVID-19 on our website, where we will post regular updates about the deployment of resources and other collaborative efforts to ensure an effective regional response.