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Foundation Insights

A COVID-19 Update from Our President & CEO Dr. Deborah M. DiCroce

April 03, 2020

A COVID-19 Update from Our President & CEO Dr. Deborah DiCroce

COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on our region and its residents. It is heart-wrenching to see individuals and their families, businesses and healthcare providers struggling with the effects. Indeed, the ripples of COVID-19 are everywhere.

In the muck of it are the nonprofit organizations—the proverbial front line for triaging COVID-19’s immediate impact and for rebuilding lives and communities over the long haul.

At its March 25 meeting, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s Board of Directors approved $500,000 in initial grant funding for our COVID-19 response. We appreciate receiving additional gifts from existing and new donors to support this work. And, one of our giving circles, Community Leadership Partners, has shifted its annual grant focus to align with it. Finally, we have collaborated with the United Way of South Hampton Roads to leverage the efforts of both organizations to mitigate COVID-19’s immediate impact.

Our response is framed in two phases—relief and recovery.

Phase One—Relief. In partnership with United Way, we rapidly deployed grant funding to our nonprofit partners at the forefront of caring for people in need. The joint grant application for this initial round of funding targeted those organizations helping people get food, shelter, essential needs and mental health counseling. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation and United Way each provided half the funds for $517,410 in relief grants for 34 front-line nonprofits.

Phase Two—Recovery. As our COVID-19 response shifts from triaging immediate need to recovery, we will award grants to help stabilize nonprofits, including those in the arts that struggle due to the cancellation of annual fundraisers, programs and events or decreased giving. We expect the process for these grant awards to be similar to the first-phase process. Our assumption is that COVID-19’s financial impact on the operations of nonprofits will be considerable.

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation has a history of underpinning nonprofits in their recovery efforts—most recently during the 2008 economic recession when we provided over $1 million in grants to 22 human service organizations over a two-year period. We have also partnered with United Way several times on targeted grant programs.

Any designated contributions we receive for the COVID-19 response will be used only for that purpose, augmenting our direct allocations.

By any measure, we live in an interesting, unprecedented time. Rest assured that your community foundation will continue to help the region and its residents successfully navigate the journey.

Together, we’ll get through this.

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