PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Foundation (PF), and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) today announced the PHL COVID-19 Fund, to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic, providing urgent resources throughout the Philadelphia region.
“The pandemic is placing extraordinary stress on our city and region, particularly on already strained community organizations that help our most vulnerable residents, and we must work urgently to provide them with greater financial support,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “This is an unprecedented time demanding an unparalleled unified response. The Fund is a shining example of government, philanthropy, and business coming together to respond to the immediate demands of our community and adapt to this evolving challenge. If you have the means to give, I urge you to support our nonprofits serving residents who need it most.”
The PHL COVID-19 Fund, found at PHLCOVID19Fund.org, will rapidly provide grants to Greater Philadelphia non-profit organizations with a successful track record of serving at-risk populations such as seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are experiencing homelessness or are economically disadvantaged. These grants will allow the nonprofits to continue providing community safety nets such as food pantries and health services, as well as preparedness and protection services, such as hygiene supplies and access to accurate information.
“We have never known a time more important than now to come together to marshal the muscle and means that reside throughout our region in response to the national emergency that is ferociously challenging all of us,” said Pedro Ramos, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. “Supporting the nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of our communities is vital to immediately provide assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors who are at risk and have the greatest needs. This fund is essential to getting resources in good and expert hands who have the power to help. Equally important, it is emblematic of the collective will required to overcome the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19.”
“Whether the challenge is providing food for the hungry, shelter for those experiencing homelessness, or the pursuit of greater economic opportunity, nonprofit organizations deliver for our community,” said Bill Golderer, President and CEO of UWGPSNJ. “We understand the importance of investing in these vital organizations and are committed to being a leader in times like these – for resources, for technical assistance, and for the courage and confidence to press on in the face of great adversity. In a time when it is prudent to practice social distancing, we need to find ways to support and strengthen those on the frontlines and provide them with various means of support.”
During this crisis, many community service organizations will see a significant increase in the demands placed on their services which could include food insecurity, childcare disruption, economic insecurity, and challenges accessing healthcare. While others will be overwhelmed by increased needs, the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Foundation and UWGPSNJ are uniquely positioned to discern who needs help, when, how much, and what type.
The Fund is designed to complement the work of regional public health officials and expand local capacity to address the outbreak as efficiently as possible. “We know that we are in the very earliest stages of this crisis,” Golderer added. “While there is an urgency today to increase funding for these resource-constrained organizations, the road to recovery will be even longer when we get to the other side of this immediate crisis.”
The PHL COVID-19 Fund is being kick-started with $6.4 million in funding, including a $3 million lead gift from the William Penn Foundation, thanks to the generous donations of partners (see below), demonstrating the power of all sectors working together in a unified effort.
Fund leadership, along with a diverse coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners, will continue to raise funding for nonprofits working at the frontline of the crisis. Anyone can contribute by visiting phlcovid19fund.org/covid-19/covid-19-response-fund/.
The PHL COVID-19 Fund will help combat the unique challenges that COVID-19 poses to increasing services including the ability to:
- Reduce administrative burden
- Minimize overhead costs
- Increase delivery services
- Procure protective gear
- Leverage supportive technology
The PHL COVID-19 Fund is a joint venture between PF and UWGPSNJ, with Pedro Ramos and Bill Golderer serving as co-directors. Grants will be made collaboratively among UWGPSNJ, PF, and other invited philanthropic and community members through a civic leadership committee co-chaired by the two organizations and including community, government, and corporate leaders. This fund supports nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia Area—five Pennsylvania counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia) and five Southern New Jersey counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, and Cumberland).
A Rapid Grants Advisory Committee, comprised of selected community representatives and outside technical experts (e.g. academia and healthcare) will provide guidance and expertise. In order to move resources quickly and not further burden organizations on the front-lines of the pandemic, the Fund asks for a simple request form and dispenses without the usual formal grant application process.
Committed Partners (this list is growing, consult the website for the most up-to-date list): Philadelphia Foundation, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, The William Penn Foundation, The Lenfest Foundation, Independence Blue Cross, The Kopelman Foundation, Comcast Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, PECO, The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, GSK Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, The Patricia Kind Family Foundation, The Nelson Foundation, The Thomas and Tracey Gravina Family Foundation, Horner Foundation, Fleischner Family Fund, Charles and Gene Dilks Fund, Richard L. and Suzanne S. Levy Fund, and the City of Philadelphia.
Sidney Hargro, President of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
“To bolster the resilience and stability of our region, this moment calls for a bold response of unprecedented cooperation between philanthropy, business, and government. Nonprofits, both large and small, play a vital role in addressing the needs of our most vulnerable residents. They also directly impact our local economy as employers. I am inspired by the leadership of Philadelphia Foundation, United Way Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Mayor Jim Kenney, and the corporations and foundations answering this call. Philanthropy Network is proud to be a partner in this effort.”
Janet Haas, Board Chair of the William Penn Foundation:
“It is more important now than ever to come together as a community to help one another. We as a people are defined by our actions at difficult times. Our foundation is eager to help launch the PHL COVID-19 Fund with a lead gift of $3 million. We are grateful to United Way, the Philadelphia Foundation, and the City for their swift and decisive action.”
Dr. Keith Leaphart, Chair of the Board of Directors for The Lenfest Foundation
“Gerry would often say that in times of crisis and uncertainty, communities need philanthropy the most. We are saddened by the need, but pleased to be able to provide support for the regional PHL COVID-19 Fund.”
Daniel J. Hilferty, CEO of Independence Blue Cross
“Our region’s outstanding public and private sector health leaders are coming together to fight COVID-19, but this outbreak will stretch the nonprofit sector that serves vulnerable citizens to its breaking point. In providing support for those valiant organizations and the people they serve, Independence is proud to walk with Mayor Kenney, the Philadelphia Foundation, the United Way, and the other funders undertaking this vital and unprecedented effort.”
To allow local government and philanthropic partners to understand the needs of the region’s nonprofit sector and the vulnerable populations they serve during the effects of COVID-19, the City of Philadelphia is encouraging nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia and across the region to complete a short online survey.
About the Philadelphia Foundation
Founded in 1918, Philadelphia Foundation strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. Philadelphia Foundation grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 1,000 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more, visit philafound.org.
About United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, serving communities in Pennsylvania’s Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties, is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people’s lives. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. In Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, United Way fights for youth success and family stability because we LIVE UNITED against intergenerational poverty. For more information about United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey visit www.UnitedForImpact.org.