Grants help charities navigate COVID-19-related challenges
For immediate release: The Winnipeg Foundation today announces $8.9 million in Stabilization Grants distributed to 279 Winnipeg charities. The grants support the short- and medium-term financial needs of local charities affected by revenue loss and unexpected expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Foundation received a record-setting 303 applications for the Stabilization Grants program, reflective of how many charities are struggling right now. Of the total applications submitted, 279 charities received grants. See backgrounder for a complete listing of all grant recipients.
The Stabilization Grants program was open to all Winnipeg-based registered charities, regardless of any current or past grants from The Winnipeg Foundation. It was designed to be as flexible as possible, with a simple application process. Organizations could request a maximum of $50,000 and applications were due June 1, 2020. The Foundation had initially committed $6 million for the granting program, but Donor Advisors were able to provide additional funding, and The Foundation reallocated funds from other projects to help ensure the most support possible for local charities.
As part of the application assessment process, organizations were grouped by The Foundation’s Cause areas, divided into subgroups and assessed as cohorts. A diversity and equity lens was applied to applications.
“Charities play a vital role in our community and are instrumental to our quality of life,” says Rick Frost, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation. “We have seen the devastating effect COVID-19 has had on the charitable sector by forcing organizations to temporarily shut down or pivot programming. Some organizations have had to lay off staff and have felt anxiety over uncertain financial situations. At the same time, we have also seen the resilience of the sector in challenging times, including organizations coming together, and finding creative new ways to deliver services.”
“We know that the impact of the pandemic has been challenging for Winnipeg charities,” says Megan Tate, Director of Community Grants. “The Stabilization Grants program came together quickly in order to provide financial support as soon as possible. The funding has also been designed to be flexible, ensuring organizations can allocate resources where they are needed most, as circumstances continue to evolve.”
“All of this work is only possible because of the generous donors who support our community through The Foundation,” says Doneta Brotchie, Chair of The Winnipeg Foundation Board. “For close to 100 years, Winnipeggers have been working together with The Foundation to build ‘A Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all.’”
COVID-19 response to date
Stabilization Grants represent the second phase of The Foundation’s COVID-19 response. The first phase consisted of emergency support, which focused on helping charities providing for the basic needs of our community’s most vulnerable. This included $2.5 million in COVID-19 immediate Emergency Response Grants, which were distributed between March 13 and June 2.
The Foundation’s COVID response has also involved distribution of $1.4 million through the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). This funding from the Government of Canada was available to charities serving vulnerable populations disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Winnipeg Foundation worked with national umbrella group, Community Foundations of Canada, along with local partners Canadian Red Cross and United Way of Winnipeg to deliver the program.
Understanding charities’ COVID-19 experiences
To understand the impact COVID-19 has had on Winnipeg charities, The Foundation worked with 18-bellwether organizations. Beginning in mid-April, charities participated in eight, weekly surveys. The charities represented small, medium and large-sized organizations across The Foundation’s five Cause areas. Local findings mirror the national findings reported by Imagine Canada. You can find the full local survey details at COVID-19: What charities are telling us.
Key themes from surveys:
- Fewer services, more demand: Two-thirds of charities surveyed suspended or cancelled at least 25 per cent of services offered. Three- quarters experienced either the same or an increase in demand.
- Adapted service delivery: Approximately three-quarters of charities surveyed moved some or all services online. All but one had staff working remotely. Two-thirds changed service delivery to adhere
to physical distancing protocols. Some used personal protective equipment to deliver services. One innovation reported is Elder and Knowledge Keeper services (drumming, prayers) delivered online and over the phone.
- Technology challenges: Most charities surveyed say they were ill-prepared and ill- equipped to move to online delivery because of limited access or delayed investment in technology. Many staff are using their own hardware at their own expense. Many of the communities that charities serve do not have hardware or connectivity, which makes the shift to online delivery very challenging.
- Lost revenue: The bulk of bellwether organizations (approximately 75 per cent) advise they have experienced a loss of revenue. All those who have lost revenue consider the losses ‘significant.’ The majority cite loss of earned revenue from activities such as ticket sales, social enterprise income, and cancelled fundraising activities, as well as a decrease in donations as the sources of their loss.
The Winnipeg Foundation is For Good. Forever. We help people give back to our shared community by connecting generous donors with Causes they care about For Good. We’re are an endowment-based public foundation, so gifts are pooled and invested, and the annual earnings are distributed back to the community Forever. Formed in 1921, we are proud to be the first community foundation in Canada.
LuAnn Lovlin, CFRE
Director of Communications & Marketing, The Winnipeg Foundation
T: 204-944-9474 ext. 232