Guest Commentator: Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO, Philadelphia Foundation @PhilaFound

How can the business community support local nonprofits during the COVID-19 crisis and into recovery?

The weeks ahead offer an unprecedented opportunity for businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area to have real-time impact on the safety and wellbeing of our most vulnerable neighbors through the PHL COVID-19 Fund.

Rapid Relief & Response – Within days of recognizing the impact the Coronavirus would have on the Greater Philadelphia Region, the PHL COVID-19 Fund was formed and launched. In just five weeks, more than $15 million in gifts and pledges was secured and the most pressing “relief-and-response” needs of nonprofits serving our most vulnerable neighbors were identified.

During the first three weeks, 200 nonprofits received grants totaling more than $7.3 million. Housed at the Philadelphia Foundation and jointly led and supported with the United Way, 100 percent of contributions to the PHL COVID-19 Fund will be granted to the nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of our community during this crisis.

Top priorities for the COVID-19 Fund are acute needs for food, supplies, logistics, housing, and technology. Over $26 million in requests – overwhelmingly meritorious – were made to the Fund in the 26-day application period. We continue to hear from nonprofits, grassroots leaders, and government about gaps in the safety nets.

Unified Community Effort – Independence Blue Cross CEO and Chamber Chair Dan Hilferty has been an exemplary corporate leader in every aspect of the PHL COVID-19 Fund as a founding supporter, leader in the call-to-action at the Fund’s launch, and through his service on the Fund’s Civic Leadership Council. Janet Haas of the William Penn Foundation and Mayor Kenney have been crucial in rallying support from philanthropy, business, and individuals. Additionally, extraordinary teams from Philadelphia Foundation, United Way, and regional grantmakers took on the rigorous activation work, with pro bono stand-up support from McKinsey & Company.

And true to the spirit of our region, over 3,500 online donors have contributed over $768,000 to support their neighbors, helped by promotion from news organizations, social media, and high-profile members of our community including 76ers star Ben Simmons, 6abc’s Jim Gardner, Philly-born movie producer John P. Middleton, and Mayor Kenney.

Corporate Support is Critical – So far, corporate donors from over two dozen companies represent approximately 27% of gifts and pledges to the fund. Private, charitable, and family foundations have contributed about 57% of the total, including almost every large foundation in the region and many medium and smaller foundations. Corporate giving to the PHL COVID-19 Fund in the next few weeks can be pivotal.

Philadelphia Foundation is a member of the Chamber’s Roadmap for Growth Action Team, a group 110+ Chamber members and partners united to engage with a broad range of civic and neighborhood organizations in the development and execution of policies and initiatives, known as the PHL Neighborhood Growth Project.

Upcoming Virtual Program

[Virtual] Nonprofits & COVID-19: Raising Philanthropic Capital in Uncertain Times
Thursday, May 7, 2020 | 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. | Held via Zoom

Join us for the first session of our Nonprofits & COVID-19 Series led by Greg Hagin, Managing Director, CCS Fundraising, as he offers insight into how to raise philanthropic capital during these uncertain times by providing both high-level strategies and practical tips to define opportunities and devise solutions amidst today’s challenges.