A Letter from Ronna Brown

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Letter from Ronna Brown 

Dear Members:

Like many of you, the scale and length of disruption we are facing is just sinking in. Our sector is in the fortunate position where much of the core work we do can be done remotely. And we are in the even more fortunate position of being able to do work that will support and respond to community needs right now – and going forward.
Here is what Philanthropy New York is doing to support you as you do your critical work responding to immediate needs for your grantee partners.

Weekly Member Calls

Last Thursday we held our first weekly call for members around COVID-19. The NYC Department of Health provided a status update about its work. We heard about racism intensifying against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. And, we had nonprofit and funder experts share the best practices for funders during times of community crisis. (View recording.)

The next call will be this Friday, March 20, 2:30 – 3:30pm. Register online.
We know several members are considering collaborative emergency funds. Others are virtually convening peers in small groups where they are focusing on a specific population or type of grantee.

  • Action Item: If you are convening peers or developing collaborative funds, please let us know – and join our next call as a speaker so that more funders can self-select to join your work.

Upcoming calls: March 20, March 27 and April 3 (2:30 – 3:30pm)

Virtual Programs and Meetings

PNY staff are working to convert scheduled in-person programming to Zoom webinars or meetings, where possible. Given how quickly things are changing, we are making decisions about programs two to three weeks out. Please check the events calendar for up-to-date information and register for programs for which you would like to receive updates.

PNY networks and working groups are convening virtually to share information and find opportunities for collective action.

  • Action Item: If you are hosting virtual funder meetings and would like to extend the invitation to interested PNY members, please share the details here for inclusion on PNY events calendar.

Advocacy and Support for Nonprofits, nationally and locally

On Saturday, PNY’s Policy Committee and then our Executive Committee approved a formal PNY position. We supported, and will continue to support, the National Council of Nonprofits’ work to see that the nonprofit sector is included in all emergency relief bills such as the one passed by the House this weekend.

Our local partners need the same support. Over the weekend, BRC and Good Shepard Services’ were joined by many of their peers in calling upon the de Blasio administration to announce flexibility in contracts, new resources, and several other specific actions so that the social services sector in NYC, always first in line to help communities, can survive financially during COVID-19. Comptroller Scott Stringer joined the nonprofit call for the administration to announce the necessary steps immediately. PNY supports these actions and called on the de Blasio administration to take all necessary actions needed to ensure adequate and flexible funding, timely communications, and clear and unwavering support for the City's nonprofit sector.

  • Action Item: We encourage all members with contacts in the city administration and in city agencies to voice their support for nonprofit grantees’ needs at this time. 

Best Practices to Consider Now

Please review the Best Practice guide that has stood the test of time. And, right now, clearly the most critical steps are to check in with grantees and understand what support they need, ensure that your current grants become flexible in terms of work and deadlines, consider modifying program grants to general operating grants, and simplify and consider delaying or eliminating reporting requirements. And, connect with peer funders to share information.

  • Action Item: Please share steps large and small you are taking in response to COVID-19 and to support grantees during this time.

Resources and Communications

To keep doing our best work – supporting you as you do your best work – we need feedback.  Please tell us what you need from us and rest assured, we will be there for you.
Wishing all of our members’ good health!
Best, Ronna

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