Coronavirus Funding for Child Welfare and Family Services

Illustration by Christine Ongjoco

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about perhaps the strangest inflection point in the history of youth and family services. Many providers are challenged to operate effectively in an environment where in-person contact is shunned, but in the not-too-distant future are likely to experience unprecedented demand for help as the nation comes to grip with an economic recession.

Charitable foundations, individuals and all levels of government are mobilizing to combat the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the health of children, youth and families and the longer term impact of a growing economic crisis. The Chronicle of Social Change will track these opportunities and continue to add them to this running thread.

Each new entry will include any necessary information about the nature of the funding, along with eligibility and application details.

Send us any information about other funding leads to include at tips@chronicleofsocialchange.org.

Definitive Guide to New Federal Funding and Added Flexibility

The Children’s Funding Project, which assists jurisdictions and organizations with fiscal mapping and other financial needs, has put together a comprehensive blueprint for those trying to keep track of new and altered federal funding programs during the coronavirus pandemic.

“By leveraging new funding and the flexibilities within existing programs, we can mitigate the negative impacts on and better serve children and youth,” the guide says.

The 38-page guide begins with breakdowns of youth and family programs included in four stimulus segments: the initial supplemental funds approved by Congress, the Families First Response Act, the CARES Act, and the Paycheck Protection Program (which is part of the CARES Act).

This is followed by an explanation of any added flexibility or updates to existing youth and family programs, including Head Start, home visiting, after-school programs, workforce development and education assistance. This section is grouped into targeted age groups: early childhood, middle childhood and services for older youth.

Children’s Funding Project intends to update this document as new legislation and guidance emerges from Congress and the executive branch.

CLICK HERE to read the guide.

National Response Fund for Justice Reform Organizations

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations focused on justice reform, or the promotion of healthy and safe communities.

Apply: Click Here.

The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, which focuses on issues of justice and health equity, has established a response fund to help nonprofits within those fields of interest sustain operations. The grant maker said on its website, “The Langeloth Foundation recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis is challenging organizations in numerous and unexpected ways including technology gaps, staffing needs, budget changes, and the need to develop new strategies.”

Applications to the fund will be taken on a rolling basis, and must be limited to “unforeseeable needs that require a timely—days rather than months—review and decision process.” While organizations can pursue larger grants, Langeloth makes the example of technological needs to accommodate work-from-home situations as an area where it might give out $500- to $2,000 grants.

Robin Hood Foundation Doing Round of General Support Funding, Emergency Cash Assistance

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations providing services within New York City.

Apply: Click Here.

The Robin Hood Foundation, one of New York’s best known philanthropic entities, has launched a rolling deadline process to support nonprofit organizations on the front line of the coronavirus response within the five counties making up New York City.

The fund has already dispersed more than $14 million, with just under half focused on emergency cash assistance to families and the rest supporting nonprofits on housing, health, food security and other issues.

Robin Hood is accepting applications from organizations that focus on serving low-income children and families who are at risk for gaps in their government contracts, have incurred unforeseen expenses during the crisis, and are able to provide emergency services.

Raikes Foundation Funding Help for Homeless Youth in Washington

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations, tribes and school districts.

Apply: Click Here.

The Seattle-based Raikes Foundation has created a fund to help schools, tribes and nonprofits assist students and other young people who are experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. The grants will be considered on a rolling basis, and be between $5,000 and $20,000.

Raikes did not set a limit on what recipients can use the funding for, just that it must be used to help those between ages 13 and 24 who are homeless. The foundation says allowable expenses could include access to wi-fi, motel rooms, housing assistance, or cleaning supplies.

Candidates must fill out a 19-question application about plans for use and the applicant’s experience serving young people experiencing homelessness.

New York City Fund for Youth Who Aged Out of Foster Care

Eligibility: Former foster youth who are not currently attending school and are between the age of 18 and 26.

Apply: Click Here.

New Yorkers for Children, a nonprofit partner to the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, has established an emergency fund for former foster youth in the city who need help and are not currently enrolled in school. The fund was created to address unforeseen financial hardships tied to Covid-19.

The nonprofit’s description of the fund includes allowable examples such as overdue rent or utility bills, transportation needs, cleaning supplies and medical costs. The fund will not assist in paying for legal representation.

Any former foster youth interested must fill out a three-page application and email it to the organization at program@newyorkersforchildren.org.

Guide to Rapid Response Funds for the LGBTQ Community

The nonprofit Funders for LGBTQ Issues has amassed a helpful webpage that lists two dozen rapid response programs aimed at helping either organizations serving the community, or individuals in need of assistance. Many of the leads are specific to a state or metropolitan area, but eight are in play for providers and advocates around the country.

Click Here to access the guide.

New York Nonprofit Fund Nears $100 Million, Close To Half Already Awarded

Eligibility: Nonprofits based in New York City, which receive government funding and have an annual operating budget below $20 million excluding their government contracts.

Apply or Donate: Click Here.

Last month we reported below that the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, which was established on March 20, had built up a $75 million arsenal to help sustain the city’s massive nonprofit community, anchored by large commitments from 18 funders. The tally is now up to $95 million with the help of hundreds of donations flowing in over the past few weeks.

“The response of the philanthropic community and the city’s nonprofits during this dark time represents New York at its very best,” said Lorie Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust, which is overseeing the fund, in a statement on the organization’s website. “Nonprofits are asking for help to maintain contact with clients and audiences by moving online, and to meet expenses, including salaries, in the face of huge financial losses. We are pleased to give that help.”

As of the fund’s update late last week, about $44 million had already gone out the door to 276 grantees, many of them in the youth and family services sector. One of the organizations receiving the maximum grant of $250,000 was New Yorkers for Children, which will use the money to help financially support older foster youth and families with open child welfare cases.

Other recipients include:

  • Brooklyn Defender Services, which provides parents involved in child welfare cases with legal support.
  • Hunts Point Alliance for Youth, which focuses on arts and educational opportunities for children and youth.
  • New York Foundling, one of the city’s largest providers of child welfare and juvenile justice services.

The fund has also approved no-interest loans for several organizations including Children of Promise, which serves the children of incarcerated parents.

Eisner Foundation Rolls Out $500,000 Rapid Response Funding

Eligibility: Current and former grantees will have priority.

Apply: Click Here.

The Eisner Foundation, which is dedicated to the support of programs that bridge the divide between the elderly and youth, has begun to deploy a $500,000 rapid response fund to support nonprofits in the Los Angeles area.

We’re moving fast to review applications and get funds to organizations as quickly as possible,” said Eisner CEO Trent Stamp, in an e-mail message last week. “We know these contributions are needed immediately.”

The focal point of the rapid response fund is combating social isolation among senior adults, but several of the first grantees are able to serve young people under the grants as well. Inner-City Arts received $30,000 and will provide “continued access to arts education and programming” for young people. Grantee ONEgeneration will receive $21,000 for IT needs related to its senior clients, including regular interaction with the kids in its still-running childcare center.

Major Youth Funder Blue Meridian Announced $100 Million Response to Covid-19

Blue Meridian Partners, a nonprofit that oversees major “big bet” investments in a number of organizations in child welfare and juvenile justice, laid out an initial plan to spend $100 million in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The group will fund community-based organizations to provide direct cash assistance to “especially vulnerable” individuals and families affected by the pandemic and the collateral impact on the economy. Among the organizations receiving initial grants from Blue Meridian are the Family Independence Initiative, GiveDirectly, National Domestic Workers Alliance, One Fair Wage and The Workers Lab.

The nonprofit said it also plans to make investments in providers who can connect low-income people to the array of financial assistance programs written into the opening round of stimulus packages passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, including expanded eligibility for food stamps and nutritional grants under the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

For its active slate of grantees, Blue Meridian said it would help support acceleration of their expansion and services where there is a need to during the pandemic. “And once these organizations and their leaders are ready to look toward the future, we will help them pivot to focus on recovery and resilience,” said a message from Blue Meridian, sent out by CEO Nancy Roob and board chair Stanley Druckenmiller.

Blue Meridian began in 2016 as a fund that pooled money from large grantmakers including the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Ballmer Group, Duke Endowment and The Druckenmiller Foundation. It has committed to investments that could reach $250 million each for nationwide replications of projects like Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, an effort to connect older youth to adoptions and guardianships, and YVLifeSet, which pairs youth aging out of foster care with specialists that help keep them connected to housing, employment and education.

The funders established a nonprofit to oversee the investments in 2018. In announcing its pandemic plans, Roob and Druckenmiller signaled an interest in other potential philanthropic partnerships.

“To recover from COVID-19, we must work together,” they said. “We eagerly welcome opportunities to work side by side with other philanthropists in this recovery—to deliver necessary assistance, help the people most impacted rebuild, and keep imagining new and better ways to serve.”

Federal Funding to Support Youth Apprenticeships

Eligibility: Nonprofits, schools, workforce boards, intermediaries and state agencies.

Deadline: May 6.

Apply: Click Here.

While it is hard to focus on job training at a time when most Americans remain indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a critical lifeline for young people in a tough economy. The Department of Labor just announced a $42.5 million round of funding for Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grants.

The program requires public and private partnerships set up to facilitate training for youth and young adults (ages 16 to 24) in career trajectory fields such as construction, electrical work or plumbing. President Trump has favored apprenticeship among the federal responses on youth employment. The federal apprenticeship account got $175 million in 2020, up from $145 million in 2018 and $68 million in 2017.

This round tiers the size of grants to the number of enrolled apprentices during a four-year project period, starting with $1 million for 200 enrollees and going up to $5 million for 900 enrollees.

$210 Million Fund for Charities, Small Businesses

Eligibility: Nonprofits and private businesses in North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Asia Pacific; and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Apply: Application details not yet available.

The Visa Foundation has committed to a one-year, $10 million emergency relief round of grant making to support “charitable organizations on the “frontlines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as public health and food relief,” according to its announcement this week.

Another five-year program for $200 million will support the global market of small and micro business owners. Of that total, $60 million of that will be set aside for community-based organizations that aid and support those businesses.

Emergency Grants for Providers Who Are Feeding Youth or Families

Eligibility: Schools and community organizations.

Apply: Click Here.

If your organization is providing meals to either youth or entire families, the national nonprofit No Kid Hungry may be able to assist with emergency grants to procure nutritious options during the pandemic.

At the moment, the offer is only for community-based organizations and school districts, though the organization might open up the inquiry process at some point to help get emergency food grants directly to families. Any nonprofit can place a request using the basic form provided on No Kid Hungry’s emergency grant website page.

Minnesota Health Foundation Prioritizing COVID Response in Childcare Grants

Eligibility: Nonprofits, Native American tribal communities and governments, and certain faith-based organizations. Must be located in or serve Minnesota.

Deadline: April 23

Apply: Click Here.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation makes regular grants to support access to early childhood care and education. It is currently prioritizing grants “that addresses the unique needs of the community as a result of COVID-19,” according its recent announcement.”

The grants “could look like emergency response funding, or continuing your work as planned but with an understanding of the new landscape and how work will need to shift as a result of our new environment,” the foundation’s website says.

The maximum grant will be for $100,000, and all of the COVID response grants will be made on a one-year basis.

Oregon Foundation Encourages Requests for COVID-Related General Support

Eligibility: Nonprofits that are based in and operating in Oregon that are committed to “equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, disability, or any other legally protected status.”

Deadline: April 23

Apply: Click Here.

Responsive grant making is not new to the Portland-based Collins Foundation, whose list of core issue areas includes “Children and Youth.” Each year, the grant maker puts out $10 million in grants to organizations that pitch an idea, as opposed to pursuing a structured call for proposals from the foundation.

For its upcoming round of responsive grants, the foundation made it clear that nonprofits reeling from the impact of coronavirus and its collateral social consequences would be a priority.

“The Foundation is particularly encouraging of requests for general operating support as organizations seek to adapt to the rapidly escalating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the foundation said, in an update to its submission guidelines for this round of funding.

A National Guide to Coronavirus-Related Funding from Community Foundations

The National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP) has compiled a massive tracker for COVID-19 response funds being offered by hundreds of community foundations around the country. The list was compiled with the help of the organization Giving Compass, and includes an alphabetical presentation as well as a map-viewable option.

NCFP said on its website that “basic due diligence” was done on the list of foundations to confirm charitable purpose and sound financial status. To access this, click here for an alphabetical rundown and click here for a mapped version of the list.

UPDATE: The Council on Foundations has already created a massive running list of emergency funding programs; its list includes community foundations along with other global or national funders.

$75 Million New York City Impact Fund Established

Eligibility: Nonprofits based in New York City, which receive government funding and have an annual operating budget below $20 million excluding their government contracts.

Apply or Donate: Click Here.

Eighteen different New York City-focused funders have pooled resources to establish a $75 million pot to support the city’s network of thousands of nonprofit organizations, many of which provide child welfare and family services and have been marked as “essential” by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to cripple New York City’s nonprofit organizations and the vitally important services they provide,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the fund’s contributors. “This joint initiative with so many incredible philanthropic partners will help ensure that many of our city’s nonprofits can withstand this crisis and continue to serve all New Yorkers.”

The fund will be administered by the New York Community Trust, and includes the availability of both grants and zero-interest loans to cover services, technology, covering staff shortages, cleaning services and other purposes.

Funding to Sustain Long Island Area Nonprofits

Eligibility: Must be a nonprofit or faith-based organization that is primarily serving Nassau or Suffolk County, the two jurisdictions that make up Long Island.

Apply or Donate: Click Here.

The Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) has partnered up with several other area funders to create an emergency fund to help nonprofits focused on the human services, arts and culture deal with the economic consequences caused by the pandemic.

“This situation is unparalleled, but as in the past, the philanthropic community has joined together to respond,” said LICF Executive Director David M. Okorn, in a statement last week. “The COVID-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund will provide critical funding to nonprofits across our region as they struggle to keep up with the increased demand for their services. We are hoping everyone who cares about our communities and its people will contribute.”

A first phase of rapid, small-size grants will be deployed quickly to “front-line direct service providers to strengthen their capacity to address the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the emergent needs of vulnerable populations caused by related closures and social distancing guidelines,” according to the application put out by LICF.

Other grantmakers involved include the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, Greentree Foundation, Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund and the Rauch Foundation.

Tipping Point Nears Halfway Mark to $15 Million Emergency Goal for Grantees

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit Tipping Point Community immediately made $1 million available to its grantees to keep operations going as a state lockdown commenced. Since then, the organization has been working to build a $30 million commitment for emergency support to grantees.

Tipping Point reached $12 million by the end of last week, according to the group, and have dispersed grants to 13 grantees already. These include:

  • Larkin Street Youth Services, a major provider of support to homeless youth in the Bay;
  • Guardian Scholars, an on-campus support network at many California universities for current and former foster youth;
  • Beyond 12, which is providing micro-scholarships for first-generation students who have been affected by campus closures or the need for technology related to remote learning.

“There was a poverty crisis before there was a public health crisis,” said Sam Cobbs, Tipping Point CEO, in a statement sent late last week. “Because of COVID-19, our grantees are responding to greater needs with fewer resources, all within a context of extreme uncertainty. Gratefully, one thing that has remained consistent is the extraordinary response of donors – small and large – throughout our region.”

Foster Youth Eligible for $1,000 Micro-grants from Pollination Project to Combat COVID-19

Apply: Click here.

Like a mini Robin Hood Foundation, the Pollination Project gathers donations, which it then rapidly redirects to social causes. 

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the project has shifted its focus entirely to supporting volunteers and grassroots leaders who are coming up with ways to fight COVID-19. From 2013 when it was founded through 2019, the Pollination Project has doled out 3,500 micro-grants, totaling more than $4 million.

“The Pollination Project model is unique in that we fund individuals, and we do so across all issue areas,” said Carolyn Ashworth, the project’s director of philanthropy, in a Linkedin message. “That’s important because creative, thoughtful solutions can often come from the ground-up. We believe that the people who have lived experience are the ones who also have the best ideas on how change should happen. We are living through an unprecedented time in which many vulnerable sectors of our society are experiencing COVID-19 more intensely than the general population. 

Foster youth are one of those groups. We believe that there are great ideas within the foster community to weather this pandemic, and we want to provide a platform to uplift these voices, including youth voices.” 

Ashworth pointed to a Florida-based program that the project funded called the Forward Paths Foundation, which offers housing and support to 90 foster youth who have aged out of foster care without any permanent family – an issue that roughly 20,000 foster youth face every year.

Path Forward’s founder Denise Burry is scrambling to find resources for the youth she serves in the wake of COVID-19, Ashworth said. Many, “abruptly lost jobs, experienced extreme anxiety and other mental health challenges, and struggled with food insecurity and transportation as food pantries and other community resources closed,” she said. 

May and Stanley Smith Devotes $4 million in Funding to COVID-19 Response

Eligibility: Grantees of the Trust

The California-based May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust – which funds in the areas of foster youth, adults and transitioning youth with disabilities, elders, and veterans and military families – has devoted $4 million to its COVID-19 response.

The funding is being disbursed in four areas:

  • Rapid Response Grants of $10,000 paid out immediately to 50 grantees in each of the foundation’s program areas;
  • Emergency Funding Grants of up to $50,000 to current grantees “to continue or ramp up services in response to the pandemic;” 
  • A $1 million boost to the Foundation’s annual grantmaking for responsive grants to current or “a limited number” of new grantees; 
  • Three-year grants to “support organizations’ stability and sustainability.”

“Our goal with our Covid-19 response is to support our grantees so they can continue to be effective, and we want them to feel that we stand by them not just financially, but in our shared concern for the causes and people they serve,” said Trust CEO Ruth Collins in an email. “One of the Trust’s values is interdependence – if our grantees are challenged, so is our mission. So, in times like these, our Trustees recognize the necessity of increasing our financial support of grantees, even during down markets, knowing the Trust’s endowment will recover over its long-term investment horizon.”

Note: Fostering Media Connections, The Chronicle’s parent organization, has received funding from the May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust. 

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