Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund: A Year in Review and a Look Forward
The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, although not equally. As the United States mourns the deaths of more than 500,000 of its population due to the COVID-19 virus, we solemnly consider the past year of tragedy, loss and survival, while also looking forward with hope and a sense of community.
We saw many of our friends, neighbors, families and communities come together for each other. At Center for Disaster Philanthropy, we saw unparalleled generosity from our donors and vital life-saving work from our grantee partners. And yet, as the pandemic continues and the impact on lives and livelihood mount, there is much work to be done.
Early response to COVID-19
The CDP COVID-19 Response Fund has become the largest pooled fund CDP has ever managed at nearly $42 million. As a result of gifts from more than 8,000 donors, we have granted $21.8 million to 137 organizations in the U.S. and abroad through January 2021.
Since its founding, CDP has prioritized mid- to long-term recovery following disasters. Yet, we knew that providing organizations with the resources to educate, inform, provide for basic needs and prevent the spread of COVID-19 was critical in mitigating long-term recovery from the pandemic. So we made our first grants just as we began to see the pandemic’s effects on the world.
Now, our grantmaking moves to support recovery from the pandemic. But what does “global recovery” look like? What will be our focus as vaccines are approved and distributed?
Evolving impact of COVID-19 on communities worldwide
The economic impact of social distancing, social isolation and stay-at-home orders has far-reaching implications for working people, especially those with already limited resources and those who rely on a gig economy.
Job losses, the closing of businesses and limited access to basic needs and other resources continue to be critical challenges, even as communities reopen. Some are being forced to shut down again as outbreaks and virus mutations continue.
Refugee camps, homeless camps or shelters, informal urban settlements or any place with high occupancy in enclosed areas where social isolation protocols are near-impossible continue to experience devastating effects and are at greater risk for viral transmission.
Vaccines are now available, but getting those vaccines to enough of the population to control the virus will take time, particularly in locations most difficult to reach.
“This past year has been one of uncertainty and heartbreak. But we must be steadfast in our commitment to helping one another –sometimes simply being there for one another – even if being “there” is a bit different…We appreciate CREDO, its subscribers and the many donors who have contributed to the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund for putting their trust in us to do what we can to support a global recovery.”
The CDP team examines who has the greatest needs, what the needs are and where needs are greatest.
In the U.S., it is clear that immigrants, refugees, communities of color and low-income communities are the most affected by the pandemic – as is the case in all disasters. We seek to fund organizations that advocate for these populations and those providing direct support for them.
We are committed to mobilizing our resources to create real, transformative change by listening, learning, understanding and investing in organizations led by Black, Indigenous and other leaders of color.
Supporting COVID-19 Recovery in 2021
The CDP COVID-19 Response Fund is now focusing on addressing the following issue areas worldwide:
- Mental health: Psycho-social support is a major priority as the pandemic, alongside multiple disasters affecting our communities, has caused layered trauma.
- Physical health: We will support communications about the virus and vaccines to combat disinformation and misinformation and equitable vaccine distribution so that even those populations most challenging to reach will have access.
- Economic impact: We will provide for basic needs as we continue to see economic uncertainty, food insecurity, homelessness and job loss.
- Health care systems: We will support health care systems to enable them to provide prevention and treatment for the virus.
- Most affected populations: We will support efforts that mobilize and amplify the voices of communities and populations most devastated by the pandemic to improve their access to resources.
Appreciation and hope
This past year has been one of uncertainty and heartbreak. But we must be steadfast in our commitment to helping one another – sometimes simply being there for one another – even if being “there” is a bit different.
We’ve seen this commitment in the creative ways teachers have managed remote learning, and friends and families have celebrated events together but apart.
We’ve seen this in the financial commitment from donors like Dolly Parton, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others who helped ensure vaccines were developed quickly and will be shipped and shared universally.
We appreciate CREDO, its subscribers and the many donors who have contributed to the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund for putting their trust in us to do what we can to support a global recovery.
And, as we wait our turn for a vaccine, we will continue to support one another by remaining committed TOGETHER – masked up and from a distance of at least six feet apart.