As we all know by now, the impact of COVID-19 on all communities—but especially those who are most vulnerable—is absolutely heart-breaking. However, this crisis has also brought into focus the many symbiotic ways we can uplift each other. Perhaps that’s why we’re experiencing firsthand a collective response unlike anything we’ve yet seen in our lifetimes.
Below, we’re sharing a glimpse into a few of the hundreds of collaborative COVID-19 response projects that have compelled Tides to boldly bring “all hands on deck” and meet the unprecedented challenges of this moment.
We saw a great need to enable our philanthropic partners to donate quickly to charitable organizations impacted by the pandemic, so we rolled up our sleeves and activated a donor rapid response grants protocol.
We’ve always been passionate in our belief that it takes a collaborative, bold approach to solve society’s toughest problems. And that’s exactly what we’re witnessing—individuals, organizations, corporations and governments coming together in order to accelerate innovative solutions to solve this global pandemic.
We knew that we’d grieve with our partners over the human and economic costs of COVID-19, but we’ve also found that the widespread and urgent call to live our shared values has been quite profound.
5 WAYS WE’RE SUPPORTING VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES IMPACTED BY COVID-19
It comes as no surprise that nonprofits usually have the lowest financial reserves compared to other industries. Yet right now—when there are gaps in governmental capacity to respond to a crisis of this magnitude—they’re often called upon to do even more for our high-risk populations.
During this global pandemic, the world is incredibly fortunate that the network of 140+ amazing social ventures that call Tides home already has the know-how and expertise to support vulnerable communities faced with health and economic resiliency challenges. Because we’re already so deeply immersed in the daily operations of these mission-driven organizations, Tides has the agility to address their primary needs during this COVID-19 event, including:
- Unrecoverable economic losses and potential staff layoffs
- Stepped-up services and taking on added responsibility/work in light of this crisis
- Advocating for long-term systemic changes to policies, strategies, etc.
- Election 2020-related 501(c)(3) activities that are hindered or curtailed and impact high-risk communities
- Support for first responders, disaster workers, and healthcare providers to prevent or mitigate potential burnout
- Frontline work supporting vulnerable populations
Just one example of “shared values in action”:
Our partners at DISH (Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing) provide permanent housing to 570 formerly homeless people who suffer from serious pre-existing health issues. Teams at Tides are now administering temporary incentive pay increases and sharing our own emergency reserves of masks for DISH’s most essential on-site staff.
Because we’re home to so many social ventures of all sizes and have over 400 philanthropic partners, we’re also in a unique position to facilitate emergency funding quickly and effectively.
Tides’ Stronger Together COVID-19 Response Fund
When we realized the true, widespread threat of this pandemic, we got to work analyzing the needs that might be created by it and determined the best strategies to fill them. We launched Tides’ Stronger Together Fund to provide emergency funding to the organizations we support that are faced with financial or operational viability, and that are experiencing increased demands in serving vulnerable communities due to the pandemic.
In as little as 24 hours, we have been able to make grants to organizations in the U.S. and abroad who are either impacted by COVID-19 or working to reduce the spread and transmission of the virus.
Tides pledged $500,000 in matching funds to galvanize support for our social venture partners, and we were so incredibly moved by just how quickly our philanthropic partners stepped up and also contributed $500,000+ in just a matter of days. This means we currently have over $1,000,000 in flexible funding as we move toward our $1.5 million goal.
Similarly, we saw a great need to enable our philanthropic partners to donate quickly to charitable organizations impacted by the pandemic, so we rolled up our sleeves and activated a donor rapid response grants protocol.
Tides’ COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants
One of Tides’ philanthropic partners came to us when they wanted to fund a direct-relief organization that would provide PPE to hospitals right away. And within two days we were able to provide a million dollar grant to a reputable organization that was in critical need of resources for frontline health workers.
By mid-March, we launched Tides’ COVID-19 Rapid Response Program to allow grants supported by our individual, corporate and foundation partners to move quickly to fill urgent needs related to COVID-19. In as little as 24 hours, we have been able to make grants to organizations in the U.S. and abroad who are either impacted by COVID-19 or working to reduce the spread and transmission of the virus.
In such a short amount of time, we’re thrilled to report we have already approved over $30 million dollars in rapid response funding and 153 grants directly related to the pandemic. We will continue the program until the end of April. After that time, we’ll continue to prioritize COVID-19-related grants as part of our broader expedited program.
One of our funds that at first glance might not seem directly related to COVID-19, but supports organizations who champion for vulnerable populations, is our Healthy Democracy Fund.
Healthy Democracy Fund
Supporting the health of the US democracy during this COVID-19 event is essential. Tides’ Healthy Democracy Fund is critical during an election year, but it’s even more so during this COVID-19 event: grassroots organizations who typically “get out the vote” to high-risk populations through in-person community outreach are dramatically impacted, and mail-in voting is becoming a hot-button issue.
If we want to see a shift toward a government representing a greater majority of Americans, we must do everything we can to protect the voting rights of communities of color, young voters and the economically disadvantaged; this includes funding groups so that they can continue to engage with our most vulnerable populations and ensure those groups are able to have their votes counted on election day.
New Philanthropic Partnerships
As we’ve seen, our government hasn’t had the capability to handle the immediate needs associated with COVID-19. However, two of Tides’ philanthropic partners #StopTheSpread (STS) and Project N95, have stepped up in a major way.
- Stop the Spread is a private sector initiative that has received commitments from 1500 business leaders to share their resources and expertise in response to COVID-19. Their fund at Tides was established to support our frontline healthcare workers and the development of the resources needed to stop the spread and treat those affected.
- Project N95, who has partnered with STS, is helping healthcare providers and now the US government source critical equipment as fast as possible.
BUILDING STRONGER BRIDGES TOGETHER
Social ventures and philanthropy have long worked in tandem as mobilizing forces to fill in gaps in community needs until the government or other public institutions have systems in place. Sometimes these “gaps” are where positive changes can take hold.
We have already approved over $30 million dollars in rapid response funding and 153 grants directly related to the pandemic.
We’re all now being called upon to re-evaluate the many ways we express our values through our actions. These days, “values in action” might look like staying home or showing up as a nurse, parent, grocery clerk or neighbor even when it’s difficult. And it can also look like socially responsible investments, donations, digital campaigns, calling voters, sharing expertise or facilitating access to resources.
The collaborative response we’re experiencing now is something we’ll need far beyond immediate relief efforts, yet the systems we put in place today can strengthen the resiliency of programs and partnerships already in place—and pave the way for a powerful reset.
As described above, Tides is harnessing the power of philanthropic giving and collective action to catalyze support where it is needed most to tackle COVID-19. Find updates here.