Welfare Foundation’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting our region and the world with an unprecedented situation. The Welfare Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Delaware and Southeastern Chester County and we are working proactively to address the growing concerns that this pandemic crisis presents, especially for the most vulnerable among us.

As we learn about the collective actions nonprofit organizations in this geographic areas are taking to combat the spread of the virus and the impact it is having in the community despite the uncertainty of how it will impact your organization, we can’t help but be inspired. At the same time, we know there will be many needs and challenges ahead and we want to assure you that we stand ready to support you during this time and have already started to take action.

To date, we have:

  • Made a $200,000 Initial Contribution to Delaware’s COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund – On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Delaware’s philanthropic and nonprofit leaders launched a coordinated response to the crisis. One of the elements of this response is the creation of the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund, administered by the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) and Philanthropy Delaware (PD), to target evolving needs of the state’s most impacted communities. As a result of our contribution, we will be actively participating in this grant evaluation process. We will also consider additional contributions as needs develop. Information on how nonprofit organizations in Delaware can apply is forthcoming from DCF and PD during the week beginning March 23rd. 

  • Targeted Dollars for a Small Number of Previous Grantees Who Have an Established COVID-19 Response in the Community – Outside of our normal spring grant process, we will be making a handful of contributions over the next few weeks to a small number of larger community-serving nonprofit organizations that we have close relationships with and have supported in the past. By short-cutting our standard grant process and immediately putting critically needed dollars into the hands of those organizations supporting our most vulnerable populations, our hope is to ensure immediate life-sustaining needs are addressed without any delay.

  • Continued Foundation Operations – Effective Wednesday, March 18th, and for the foreseeable future, we have shifted our operations to all-remote work. Our offices in the Community Services Building are closed to visitors, but you can find our contact information on our website and we promise to respond to you as soon as we are able.

  • Created Flexibility for Recent Grantees (2019 and prior) – Normal progress reporting requirements for recent grantees will be more flexible until further notice. If you are having trouble completing your reporting through the online portal for any reason related to COVID-19, please let us know and we will work with you. The nature of this crisis may also shift how some recent grantees may wish to allocate the funds they were granted in a previous cycle. We will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis. If you are recent grantee, you can expect an email from us in this regard in the coming week, beginning Monday, March 23rd.

  • Addressed Considerations for Current Applicants (Spring 2020 cycle with April 15 deadline) – For those organizations who have expressed an interest in applying for a grant this Spring, please note that we will be moving forward with our current grant cycle as scheduled. However, in the spirit of full transparency, we want you to know that the coronavirus crisis has impacted this cycle in ways that have effectively created a “higher bar” for traditional capital grant requests. As such, if your project is not of an urgent nature and your application can wait until a future cycle, it is probably in the best interest of all parties for you to delay or withdraw your application. We will be reaching out to expected applicants (if we have already touched base with you regarding your intent) this coming week, beginning Monday, March 23rd and throughout the week. 

We are proud to be part of a coordinated community response and our grant to the Delaware’s COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund and adjustments to our normal funding process as our first steps. At the same time, we know that our role pales in comparison to the personal and emotional efforts and sacrifices that so many exemplary nonprofit organizations are making. We thank you for the strength, care, and leadership you’ve already demonstrated and will continue to show in the weeks and months ahead. We recognize these are uncertain times and the full impact of this crisis may not be known for some time. Please know though that we are here for you and are 100% committed to getting through this together. 

In partnership, 
Chris Grundner & Kristin Sommers