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Help available for NFPs struggling through COVID-19

1 April 2020 at 3:59 pm
Luke Michael
With coronavirus having a devastating impact on the not-for-profit sector, we take a look at some recently launched funds that could help organisations get through the crisis 

Luke Michael | 1 April 2020 at 3:59 pm


Help available for NFPs struggling through COVID-19
1 April 2020 at 3:59 pm

With coronavirus having a devastating impact on the not-for-profit sector, we take a look at some recently launched funds that could help organisations get through the crisis 

New national platform to connect funders with NFPs

Australian Communities Foundation and Philanthropy Australia last Thursday launched the COVID-19 National Funding Platform, to facilitate a coordinated philanthropic response to the pandemic.

The platform is a central online directory that allows Australian philanthropic funders to connect with the COVID-19 related funding needs of NFPs across the country.

Australian Communities Foundation CEO Maree Sidey said that the platform will make it easier for organisations to find funding support throughout the crisis. 

“Philanthropy has the unique ability to move quickly and decisively to support the emerging needs of our communities and the non-profit organisations that serve them,” Sidey said.

“During this turbulent time, it’s important to remember that there is something every one of us can do to mitigate the impacts of this pandemic, particularly when our actions are guided by generosity, solidarity and community rather than fear and isolation.” 

Sidey told Pro Bono News the platform has already drawn immense interest, with the website doubling users within a week, while the number of projects put up has increased fourfold. 

She said that Australian grant makers have responded well to the pandemic, by focusing on expanding their giving, keeping people in the sector employed, and ensuring grantees are properly supported.

Read more: COVID-19⁠ – Five things philanthropists can do

“There’s been really innovative responses right across the sector. Grant makers are ripping up current funding agreements and letting grantees re-write what they need money for in this time of crisis,” she said.

“So things like renegotiating the relationship, reducing the burden, extending granting reporting periods and renegotiating the level of support – this is all just becoming standard practice at the moment with grant makers.” 

Australian Communities Foundation and Philanthropy Australia are encouraging NFPs and community organisations to register their funding needs so they can start receiving support from funders.

COVID-19 Rapid Advocacy Fund launches

Australian Progress, along with Australian Communities Foundation and other partners, have started a COVID-19 Rapid Advocacy Fund, which aims to inject money into strategic advocacy campaigns responding to coronavirus.

Organisations are being encouraged to pitch advocacy campaigns that put “our communities at the heart of the response to the pandemic”.

Sector advocates say advocacy campaigns are urgently needed to ensure the government’s stimulus measures and policy responses are fair and help those most in need.

Sidey said the sector also needs to keep an eye on governments to make sure they do not pursue harmful legislation while the public is transfixed on coronavirus.

“I think it’s really important during the crisis that people don’t forget about the importance of good public policy and supporting people who are campaigning to hold legislators to account,” she said. 

“Sometimes things like that can drop off the radar in times like this.”

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Round

Last Friday, three Canberra community foundations ­­­­­­­­­– the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund (administered by Hands Across Canberra), The Snow Foundation, and the John James Foundation – teamed up to open the COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Round. 

Diane Kargas Bray AM, chair of Hands Across Canberra and the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund ACT charities, said charities could apply for small grants from $1,000 to 15,000 and medium grants up to $25,000.

The foundations have made an initial $500,000 commitment to the grant round.  

“[This grant round] will inject funds into the community sector to support and enable the wonderful work they do during this uncertain time,” Bray said.

“We listened to our community sector and heard that everyone is facing challenges due to COVID-19.

“In the past two weeks, local community organisations have grappled with simultaneously adjusting their work environments for the safety of staff and volunteers ­­­­­­­­­– and dealing with a surge in demand for their services.” 

Georgina Byron, CEO of The Snow Foundation, said this collective response aimed to help those most impacted by COVID-19. 

“By injecting half a million dollars into local community charities, we are providing support to the Canberra community in the quickest and most effective way we can,” Byron said.                                                

“Collaboration is needed now more than ever to strengthen community organisations and charities to be able to continue to operate and help those in need, especially where demand has increased significantly.”

More information about the grants can be found here.

Applications close at midnight on 10 April 2020.

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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