Philanthropy has a critical responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic to leverage its flexible funding ability to protect the most vulnerable communities. We have responded rapidly to provide resources to organizations supporting individuals, especially youth, living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage in our local community of Los Angeles and around the world. We have also pledged to support with our existing partners through their COVID-19 response as we continue to work together toward our shared mission.
Our Initial Response
In mid-March, we made our initial disaster response to support organizations responding to COVID-19. In early April, we made another series of grants totaling $10 million, about half of which went toward protecting the homeless population of Los Angeles, with the other half focused on supporting African countries prepare for a pending outbreak.
Supporting Our Partners
An additional $1 million was designated to support existing partners in the following program areas as they adapt and respond to the global pandemic: Catholic Sisters, Foster Youth, Safe Water, Hospitality Workforce Development, and Young Children Affected by HIV and AIDS. Grants were also awarded through discretionary funds or existing program budgets toward COVID-19 relief.
Elizabeth, SHOFCO employee and handwashing station attendant, shows proper handwashing technique to a Kibera resident. SHOFCO is operating 221 handwashing stations across 14 urban slums in Kenya, which serve as key access points for health awareness and distribution of informational pamphlets, soap and hand sanitizer.
Employee Matching Gifts
We temporarily increased our Employee Matching Gifts Program to 4:1 for eligible nonprofit organizations responding to COVID-19. These gifts totaling more than $75,000 will support a wide range of communities impacted by COVID-19, including the food insecure, people experiencing homelessness, restaurant workers, domestic violence survivors, hospital workers, immigrants and more.
In addition to grantmaking, our offices have been temporarily closed since mid-March while staff work remotely, and we have canceled or postponed all in-person gatherings in accordance with recommendations from public health officials. We will continue to follow these guidelines and recommendations closely to keep our staff, partners and communities safe during this unprecedented time.