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17 Nov. 2020 | Comments (0)

One of our Members recently asked me this question: My board is looking to me for a strategy of how best to distribute the remaining $1M of our $10M COVID-19 relief fund. I am wondering if you have any foresight into what might be needed during this next wave?

I am sharing the six ideas I included in my response for any others’ with an extra million dollars (or any amount) on their hands!

Support Safety Nets

The economic impact of the second wave of COVID-19 could be worse than the first wave – especially for those living on the margins. With an economic stimulus package still in doubt here and abroad, the already high number of people in need is likely to increase. While food banks, housing assistance, and educational organizations are helping people cope, they could help more people with additional funding.

Double Down on your Partners

You have developed good working relationships with your nonprofit/NGO partners as part of your strategy to make positive changes in peoples’ lives... They too are likely to need help navigating recovery’s long and winding road. To help ensure you’ll be able to continue your work together as COVID-19 continues largely unabated and after it’s been neutralized, talk with them to find out what they need to continue working at capacity and/or or ramp up to meet increased demand during this draining time.

Help to Keep Small Businesses Open

Helping small and medium sized businesses stay open means many people keeping their job, providing needed goods and services locally, and contributing to community wellbeing. Small businesses are difficult to start but can easily go under – especially under the sustained pressures a global pandemic brings. Participating in buy local programs is one way to help ensure these businesses survive.

Aid Employees

Reduced hours, pay reductions, heavier workloads, furloughs, and layoffs have all taken a toll on current and recently separated employees. These hardships have created situations that many of the affected people are not equipped to handle – especially for a long period of time. While it can be complicated, we have seen several companies create an Employee Relief Fund (ERF) this year. We’ve also seen companies that already have an ERF broaden their giving criteria.

Inform and Encourage Employees about Civic Engagement

The disparate impact of COVID-19 and other natural disasters on disadvantaged communities and societies’ focus on addressing racism and inequality has given companies pause. Many organizations are beginning to view these issues through a lens of equity, rethinking how and whom they work with, increasing funding levels, and making commitments to create positive change; informing and encouraging employees to do the same can act as a multiplier.

Put a Smile on a Child’s Face During the Holidays

This has been a tough year for virtually everyone – less-fortunate children, and in turn their parents, in particular have had to endure so much disruption this year. Receiving gifts will help kids feel a sense of normalcy during the holidays and provide a little happiness, thus improve their and their parents’ psychosocial health. Toys 4 Tots and Rescue Christmas are two charities to consider sponsoring.

As we move towards 2021 with optimism despite COVID-19, those in corporate citizenship will continue navigating and shaping the new normal(s) while corporation’s reconsider their role in society. Although corporate philanthropy made unprecedented commitments this year, sadly, much of the need hasn’t gone away. The year is not over though: let’s finish 2020 strong and begin 2021 even stronger. Our communities are depending on it.

  • About the Author:Jeff Hoffman

    Jeff Hoffman

    Jeff Hoffman is an accomplished corporate executive who has served on the global stage. Through board and commission leadership roles, he has a distinguished history working with business, non-profit,…

    Full Bio | More from Jeff Hoffman


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