A Letter from Ronna Brown

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Letter from Ronna Brown

Dear Members:
We hope this note finds you, your loved ones, and your colleagues, safe and well. Without a doubt, we are living through a moment of intense collective crisis. Each day brings more somber news.  In short, this pandemic is altering the ways in which we all do business and take care of ourselves and our families.
At the same time, I am impressed and energized by the Philanthropy New York community. PNY members have responded over the last few weeks with urgency. You have shown just how nimble, flexible and proactive philanthropy can be. Members have shared with us that they are:

  • increasing their grantmaking and making emergency grants to respond to this unprecedented crisis;
  • distributing money quickly and moving up renewal grants to mitigate cash flow challenges; and
  • modifying grants to remove barriers and streamlining processes to allow nonprofits to focus on the front-line support they are providing our communities.

These are just a few of the ways members are responding. Indeed, a wave of change is upon us. We hope that some of the thinking that has led to these actions will prove so valuable that some of these changes stay with us for the long haul.
COVID-19 Resources
Your work is as important as ever—and we’re committed to helping you do your job well. You’ll find a host of information on our COVID-19 Resource Page. Some highlights include:

Visit the resource page to get up-to-date information and ideas

Convening Power
PNY members are leveraging the strong relationships built in person to continue sharing resources and information virtually. Issue-based working groups and PNY’s networks for CEOs, COOs, CFOs and HR staff are coming together on a regular basis to support each other’s work.  We know that you will keep up those connections. Let us know how we can help.

Weekly Webinars
We have been offering timely support to our members in the form of weekly webinars. Recent topics included collaborative funding and organizing efforts (March 20th) and fast-moving city, state, and federal policy efforts (March 27th). Here’s what’s coming up:

  • TODAY April 3rd at 2:30pm, Centering Equity in Grantmaking Practices: While we know that anyone can contract the coronavirus, we also know that the impacts on communities of color could be severe. COVID-19 has exposed inequity in its most glaring forms. We will have a conversation with Susan Taylor Batten of ABFE, Michele Kumi Baer of Race Forward, and Lori Villarosa of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity with the goal of helping funders utilize an intersectional, racial justice-focused lens in near-term and long-term responses.
  • Friday, April 17th, Endowments: Managing Fears, Answering Questions: Still in development, this webinar will tackle concerns around foundation endowment decreases tied to the volatile financial markets. We will provide guidance to help members answer related questions around how to responsibly manage their endowments through crisis while also maintaining commitments to grantee partners and responding to the urgency of this moment. Stay tuned for more information.

Advocating for the Nonprofit Sector
We support the incredible efforts of the National Council on Nonprofits and our state and local partners that are working tirelessly to ensure nonprofits are included in COVID-19 legislation and policy responses. The significant successes to date underscore the power of a strong nonprofit advocacy voice. We also continue to leverage our own government relationships to support the nonprofit community during this unprecedented time.
We are posting the latest information about what kind of financial support is available to nonprofits, so that you can share it with your grantee partners.
Please share these key resources with your grantee partners:

We know that funders are called upon at all stages of a crisis: immediate, mid term and long term. We have much more to do together.  Tell us what you need. What do you want to talk about? What do you need to learn about? Please let us know. We’re here to support your work and as we hear so often these days because it is true: we’re in this together.