March 27, 2020

Recovery and Relief Responses to COVID-19 by Government and Philanthropy

The Grant Plant is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation especially as it pertains to our clients, the nonprofit community, and the needs in the state of New Mexico. To help, we are maintaining a list of emergency and other funds specific to New Mexico nonprofits on our website. If you have any resources to add, please email us.

Federal Government Response

We are keeping a close eye for emergency funding becoming available that can benefit the New Mexico nonprofit sector, the medical community, and our first responders, as well as the state’s recovery from this crisis. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 provided $8.3 billion in emergency funding. Some of that funding is already getting deployed to New Mexico, including to health clinics and for small business loans. The new stimulus packages coming out of the federal government will address broad needs and deploy federal funds towards job creation and local development.

Among the funding priorities include:

$25 million to support the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program to help improve distance learning and telemedicine in rural areas of America.

  • $100 million to the ReConnect program to help ensure rural Americans have access to broadband.
  • $1.5 billion for the Economic Development Administration’s Economic Adjustment Assistance program to help revitalize local communities after the pandemic, including impacted industries such as tourism.
  • $850 million for the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG) to allow state and local police departments and jails to meet local needs, including purchase of personal protective equipment and other needed medical items and to support overtime for officers on the front lines.
  • $1.032 billion in to support the tribal health system, including medical services, equipment, supplies and public health education for IHS direct service, tribally operated and urban Indian health care facilities; expanded funding for purchased/referred care; and new investments for telehealth services, electronic health records improvement, and expanded disease surveillance by tribal epidemiology centers.
  • $955 million for the Administration for Community Living to support nutrition programs, home and community based services, support for family caregivers, and expand oversight and protections for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
  • $360 million for the Department of Labor to invest in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers, and homeless veterans.

The government has also issued administrative relief for organizations who hold federal grants or are applying for federal grants. These include (among other provisions):

  • Relaxing requirements for an active System for Award Management (SAM) registration in order to get funds out expeditiously.
  • Flexibility with application deadlines; each government agency is instructed to post updated guidelines on its website.
  • Reduced notice for funding opportunity publication, allowing emergency Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) to be published for less than the standard 30 days.
  • Extending current awards that expire between March 31 and December 31, 2020 automatically at no cost for a period of 12 months (check with your agency).
  • Abbreviating non-competitive continuation requests to make the application less burdensome on applicants.
  • Allowing costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other that are part of the performance of the award during this time of national response to the pandemic.
  • Extending the deadline for the submission of interim and final reports on an award (check with your agency).


Philanthropy Response

Nationally, philanthropy is stepping up in a big way. There are numerous foundations dedicating financial resources to helping nonprofits through this crisis. The best place to look for emergency funding right now appears to be with our local community foundations, or through established relationships with your organization’s existing funders. Local community foundations and United Ways are creating rapid-response emergency funds to help New Mexico nonprofits cope with the crisis. National philanthropy will likely become an avenue as foundations have the opportunity to adjust giving goals and priorities, work with their existing grantees first, and issue requests for proposals.

Many funders are offering flexibility for current grantees to move restricted funds to general operating funds (usually on a case-by-case basis). If you need flexibility in terms of fund purpose, reporting deadlines, or meeting intended outcomes, communicate with funders early. If you are waiting on a grant decision, expect that there may be a delay as the foundation’s processes and routines are disrupted from the crisis.

Some best practices we’ve gleaned from partners and experts include:

  • Document how your organization is being affected by COVID-19 (lost revenue, additional services being required, etc.). Use this information to communicate with your funders and donors about the need for additional resources.
  • Contact funders with whom you have a close relationship if additional financial support is needed.
  • Create an emergency operations fund that clearly outlines where community support will make an impact.

Impact & Coffee, an Albuquerque-based weekly mixer for the nonprofit community, just released a panel video on “Nonprofit Life in the Times of COVID-19.” You can hear from local experts including: TGP’s Aly Sanchez and The Grants Collective’s Terry Brunner and Robert Nelson on how nonprofits can address the crisis from a funding perspective; from NM Association for Grantmakers Executive Director, Cathy Frey and Albuquerque Community Foundation Advancement Director Marisa Magallanez, on how local philanthropy is working together to provide resources and relief for the community; and from NM Thrives Director Tsiporah Nephesh on COVID-19 influenced changes the nonprofit community.

We’re all in this together, and The Grant Plant appreciates the opportunity to work with our clients through these trying times.

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