Dear Friends of The Grant Plant: Like you, we are monitoring the fast-changing conditions related to COVID-19 and its potential impacts on our team, our clients, and our community. I’d like to offer some thoughts on what TGP is doing in response to current events and how we can best work with you, our partners. And we have a few thoughts to share on the impact of COVID-19 in the grants world.
Please rest assured that all of our team members at TGP are healthy and we are moving forward on all projects with as little disruption as possible. Since inception, we have incorporated telecommuting options and are equipped to and adept at working remotely. Our team is available to take meetings via Zoom or other virtual means, and we have a corporate Zoom account in which we can offer to host those meetings for up to 100 participants.
In terms of process, our team will be asking you to approve project charters (short grant summaries) as we begin new projects with your organization. That will enable us to feel confident in the direction of a project in case we need to proceed with less or interrupted input—we know many agencies are facing increased workloads right now. We will also be asking clients with whom we usually have only one point person for reviews and submission approvals to put us in touch with a second point-of-contact who is authorized to approve grant applications, just in case. We will increase “back-up” on our side for projects (like additional staffers looped-in on projects and redundant file backups) to keep things running smoothly in case our team needs to attend to health issues of their own or care for loved ones. For more complex or collaborative grants, we may create google docs to allow more flexibility for ongoing project input/feedback from clients as our team works through drafts.
We also want to make you aware of a webpage that our client, City Alive, has put together to help small businesses during the pandemic in case you may need resources for your organization.
In terms of what this might look like for grants: We suggest anticipating that there may be a potential for delayed release of funds for approved grants, and delayed RFPs for anticipated new grant releases, while foundations and government create a response. Here is a good site on how COVID-19 is affecting philanthropy.
We are seeing mixed messages regarding private funding; in some cases, it appears that foundations are curtailing their giving due to stock market hits, while others are ramping up an emergency response to support the nonprofit sector. We can also likely expect corporate funding to diminish for a while and/or redirect to emergent needs. We have heard that some local funders want to know what is needed right now to address COVID-19 effects, making it a good time to communicate about urgent needs and plans you may have for supporting especially vulnerable populations, unmet health system needs, etc.
For public funding, a relief package has been approved by the House, but not yet by the Senate. Thus far it appears to mostly be related to healthcare testing, state Medicaid support and flexibility, and aid for families and individuals impacted by work interruptions. The current package includes some targeted grant funds for food security but does not have provisions for increased competitive grant funding for communities or nonprofits impacted by the virus. It is likely that there will be subsequent economic stimulus packages to address broader needs and to deploy federal funds towards job creation and local development. If the stimulus package of 2009 is a guide, there could be many federal RFPs released to support the economy and social services in general, often with fast (sub-30 days) turnaround times for deadlines. And we would love to help you with those! We will be updating our website regularly with current grant opportunities.
From all of us at TGP, we wish you health, prosperity, and peace of mind.
Tara, Erin & all of Team TGP
Contact: Tara Gohr, CEO/President, firstname.lastname@example.org
This post was filed under: Inside TGP