Philanthropy and COVID-19: Let’s roll up our sleeves
It has been a hell of a week that is leaving all of us, including philanthropic foundations, dizzy and disoriented. Our endowments are suffering catastrophic losses; we are scrambling to make alternative arrangements to continue operations; we worry about loved ones who are suddenly unable to return home or belong to groups that are highly vulnerable to the pandemic (our elderly; those with compromised immune systems). A normal human reaction to massive stressful change would be to retreat and to regroup to weather the storm. I believe that it would be a historic mistake to do so. Instead of retreating, we need to step up and to become more engaged.
This is the hour of need for many of our partners, for marginalized communities with weak resilience and for strengthening the ties that make up Canada.
There is much to learn from our collective experience during the Great Recession in 2008-09, from the response to previous epidemics (from SARS to Ebola) and from what is happening in the USA, Europe and East Asia.
PFC will step up its role in helping its members to learn from each other and from emerging international good practice. PFC is also reaching out to our partners who support philanthropic and non-for-profit platforms, including Imagine Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Ontario Nonprofit Network to support a coordinated response.
As a first step, PFC is organizing a one-hour webinar next Wednesday March 18, 14h00 to 15h00 ET on Philanthropy’s Response to COVID-19. The agenda and speakers will be shared early next week. While Monday’s March 16 Foundation House webinar will focus on how to adapt and maintain internal operations, Wednesday’s webinar will concentrate on programming and the changing needs of grantees. PFC will convene another webinar on investment practices at a later date.
Canada remains better positioned than most countries to respond to this crisis, to minimize human suffering and to protect all of its citizens. Public Health Agencies across the country have done an admirable job so far. Our public institutions including the social net supported by not-for-profit community organizations will need our collective contribution to prepare, manage and recover from this emergency. I am convinced that we are up to this historic challenge.
Resources on COVID-19
- Harvard Business Review: Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis and What Are Companies’ Legal Obligations Around Coronavirus?
- Bennett Jones: Force Majeure Clauses and Risk Management in the Face of COVID-19
- Deloitte: See the collection of Global Deloitte insights.
- Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC): canada.ca/en/public-health
- Barr Foundation: Sample message from foundation in US to its grantees:
The Government of Canada recommends the following advice, in general, to help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- When coughing or sneezing cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs
- Dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards
- Clean high-touch surfaces frequently, including phones and electronics
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid visiting people in hospitals, long-term care centres, older adults and those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems if you are sick
- If you have been to areas with elevated risk in the last 14 days, please stay home (self-isolate). PHAC asks that you monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after you arrive in Canada. If you have these symptoms, call the public health authority (1-866-797-0000 in Ontario) to inform them. They will provide advice on what you should do.
- For event organizers, it is recommended that you have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes widely available throughout the venue, as well as bottled water for those that want it.