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COVID-19 Responses and Support: A Message From Melissa A. Berman

March 17, 2020

Given the profound and constantly evolving impact of COVID-19, the role of philanthropy is more important than ever given its ability to nimbly lead with flexibility and innovation.

At RPA, we recognize the need for a thoughtful and effective response and are taking steps to continue to serve our donors and clients throughout this crisis.

To safeguard the health and safety of our staff and their families and to play our role in slowing the spread of illness, we have suspended all business travel and, for the most part, are working remotely. Please be assured that our work and commitment to you will continue, and we remain accessible via email, phone and video conferencing. Through our business continuity plan, we’ve tested our remote access systems, but there may still be some slowdowns in processing transactions.

On a broader level, here are some suggestions from our clients, partners and friends to respond to this dynamic environment:

  • Support vulnerable communities and the public health response. For additional guidelines, visit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and learn about equity considerations during COVID-19 from the NAACP.
  • Give more flexibly. Consider removing restrictions from your grantees to help them act more responsively. Read RPA’s Giving in Challenging Times guide for more clarification.
  • Take practical steps to help grantees. One step the Edward W. Hazen Foundation has taken to immediately support grantees is purchasing and distributing bulk online meeting licenses so their grantees can hold virtual meetings and telecommute for work. Separately, The Hazen Foundation is hosting a call on Tuesday on topics related to COVID-19. Please RSVP to Rosio Santos at rosio@hazenfoundation.org if you are interested.
  • Collaborate. Read Fortune’s article on how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mastercard, and Wellcome Trust are banding together to spur faster development of, and greater access to, treatments for COVID-19 here.
  • Coordinate and exchange information. Numerous organizations are hosting conversations on general responses to COVID-19. Recent webcasts and other resources available on-demand that may be of interest include: Philanthropy New York, the Council on Foundations and the Southern California Grantmakers.

Wishing you health and safety,

Melissa A. Berman
President and CEO

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

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