Southwest Florida Community Foundation joins national foundations and lifts grant restrictions on Community Impact Grants, launches programs to support nonprofits in response to COVID-19
(April 28, 2020 – Fort Myers, Fla.) — The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has taken measures to bolster nonprofit businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees recently voted to lift grant restrictions for nearly $900,000 from the 2019/2020 Community Impact Grant cycle (CIG) and freeze grant reporting deadlines until further notice. This will allow grantees of the Foundation’s largest group of grantees to use their award for operating expenses and/or delay programs until further notice. This flexibility is intended to support grantees serving Southwest Florida amid COVID-19 and support their recovery.
The funding for the CIG program comes from Field of Interest funds. Philanthropists establish Field of Interest funds to address their desires and intentions for Southwest Florida, including Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, Collier, and Lee counties. This grant program reflects the intent of donors, many of whom left their legacy through their estate plans entrusting their gifts to the Foundation.
This move is in response to a call from the Council on Foundations joining national funders and other leaders in the philanthropic sector in making such commitments and collectively holding each other accountable by signing the pledge of action. https://www.cof.org/news/call-action-philanthropys-commitment-during-covid-19
Alex Daniels of the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in the April 2020 issue that more than 300 grant makers joined together less than a week after President Trump declared a national emergency to announce that they had signed a pledge to eliminate restriction on current grants, loosen rules on reporting and not punish anyone who can’t hold a promised event. What’s more, they vowed to support more advocacy work and to listen to the people too often overlooked by philanthropy and government.
“It is our hope that this move will reduce layoffs and stress, allowing nonprofit businesses to more easily navigate these uncertain times.” said Sarah Owen, President and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “Nonprofit organizations are vital to the region’s success and recovery during this crisis.”
Additionally, the Foundation is researching nonprofit needs for conducting business operations and developing programs to benefit both the Foundation’s grantees and nonprofit businesses navigating a new virtual landscape in Southwest Florida. The programs are designed to keep the nonprofits connected so they can transform and adapt their work to meet the needs of the community.
“We have been listening to the needs of nonprofits through polls as well as small group and one-on-one conversations,” said Trisha Botty, Head of Social Impact and Connectivity. “Based on this feedback, we are working with our community partners to design programs tailored to the evolving needs of the nonprofit community.”
For more information on current and upcoming programs offered, contact us at [email protected].