Corporate Philanthropy in Response to COVID-19

Aug 25, 2020

(Pictured above, from left to right: Esra Elshafey, Associate Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility; Launia Spence, Administrative Assistant, Communications, Global Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy; Polly O’Brien Morrow, Program Manager, Global Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy Vice President, Pitney Bowes Foundation; Kathleen Ryan Mufson, Director, Global Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy President, Pitney Bowes Foundation; Carlos Santiago, Finance & Operations Manager Global Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy)

By Contributing Editor: Brynne Bartiromo
Marketing & Communication Associate, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

A Transformative Moment for Philanthropy

In crisis situations, we see the power and potential of philanthropy. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our region, like our nation, has felt the health, economic, and social impact, and we will all continue to navigate the long-term consequences on people, organizations, and communities as they continue to materialize.

The COVID-19 pandemic shined its light on the ugly disparities that have become ever more apparent in our world today. We see the disproportionate number of deaths among the Black and Latinx communities due to the same lack of access to basic needs — food, housing, healthcare, education, and safety. The impact of this pandemic has amplified these disparities, and our nonprofit and corporate sectors are being called to, together, reaffirm our efforts and answer this clarion call to action.

Philanthropy is now challenged to act on a different scale than ever before. Local, national, and international companies of all sizes have answered the call, extending support to nonprofits working to address the immediate and long-term needs of vulnerable people and populations.

This partnership between the corporate and the nonprofit sector is helping to lead the road to recovery and ensure all of our communities get the support they need. Pulling together to forge collective solutions will ultimately help communities come out ahead.

The Community Foundation’s Response

In Fairfield County, the Community Foundation put this process to work; the collective force of the corporate sector coming together to support our region’s response. The Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund was established in Mid-March by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation with the support of generous seed funding from a cross-section of individuals, private foundations, corporations, and others.

The Fund has deployed nearly $2 million to frontline community organizations that meet the basic needs of local residents in Fairfield County. This has been made possible through the gratitude and support from our corporate Founding Fund Partners.

These corporate partners include Bank of America; Bridgewater Associates; CNG, SCG, UI – Part of the AVANGRID Family; Eversource; Henkel North America; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; NBC Sports Group; People’s United Community Foundation; Pitney Bowes; Target Corporation; The Koskoff Fund; Tudor Foundation; and Wells Fargo. The Community Foundation is proud of these corporate Founding Fund Partners who are leading by example – they heard the Foundation’s call and took action!

Through these partnerships, the Community Foundation was able to quickly move to distribute vital grant funding to local nonprofits supporting the basic needs of our region’s most vulnerable residents, including food, shelter, health, safety, and education. And their support will allow us to continue to support our region during the long-term recovery.

Since March 18, 2020, our corporate partnerships have contributed over $2.44 million raised for our Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund, helping us support an estimated more than 260,000 of our county’s most vulnerable residents during this pandemic — more than a quarter of Fairfield County’s population. Earlier this summer, the Foundation completed its COVID-19 Resiliency Fund Grant Report that details the ways in which grants from the fund to date have been distributed, including information on funded issues, people served, and geographies reached.

Support for Long-Term Recovery

And this reach goes beyond financial support. Corporations are doing their part to enhance employee engagement by offering internship, mentoring, and volunteer opportunities that connect them to the nonprofits that are working on the frontline for our community’s health and wellbeing.

This is only a snapshot of the breadth of activity that has taken place over recent months. There is much more to be said about how philanthropy is intensifying its efforts across all sectors right here in Fairfield County and in all corners of the world during this pandemic.

The need to fortify our communities and support their needs in the wake of the enduring economic, health, and social consequences will continue to be a challenge for philanthropy. Its role is significant. The Community Foundation will continue to work with our business partners and all those willing to participate as we focus on long-term recovery and sustainability.

Contributing Editor:
Brynne Bartiromo
Marketing & Communications Associate
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation