In 2021, The Foundation and United Way partnered on a social media campaign that highlighted how the COVID-19 Community Fund helped local nonprofits. Walk of Faith Church was one grant recipient that used funds to hold multiple vaccine clinics. Credit: Contributed by Walk of Faith Church

The Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund

$4,388,400 Distributed for Immediate Basic Needs, Healthcare Access and Critical Services

In March 2020, The Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater New Haven came together to launch the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund for directing resources to immediate needs in local neighborhoods and communities. An outpouring of support resulted in more than $4.3 million being raised and distributed through six rounds of grants in 2020-21 to supply food, grocery cards and cash assistance to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, along with funding for vaccination access, educational supports and other critical services that were disrupted by the pandemic. In total, the fund made 221 grants, to 164 organizations, serving residents throughout Greater New Haven before being retired.

As of 2022, donors wishing to address immediate needs in the community, pandemic-related or otherwise, may donate to the Community Now Fund.

Screenshots of Great Give participating nonprofit executives and staff Credit: Contributed

The Great Give 2020 & 2021 Fundraising Events

Unprecedented Resources Raised for Local Nonprofits

The generosity exhibited during May’s Great Give 2020 and 2021 surpassed expectations in the face of a crisis like no other and demonstrated how resilient and united our community is and the power of what can happen through a connected and determined community. Ultimately, over $3.6 million was raised online for Greater New Haven’s nonprofits in 2020, almost doubling the previous year's record, through more than 16,000 individual donors. In 2021, The Great Give finished strong again, raising over $3.3 million over the 36-hour event.

Stepping Forward

Unprecedented 3-Year, $26M Commitment

From the start, the COVID-19 pandemic created extraordinary needs throughout the community and widened racial inequities that are rooted in a long history of exclusion and disinvestment. Devastating financial, health and social impacts were felt throughout Greater New Haven. In response, The Foundation created Stepping Forward in 2021 - the largest community investment in The Foundation's history. Stepping Forward is a 3-year commitment that is being funded through an unprecedented supplemental extraction from The Foundation's discretionary endowments and through donor contributions. To date, activities have included: a panel discussion among regional and national experts, a series of listening and learning sessions, awarding more than double the amount typically granted through The Foundation's largest competitive Responsive grant program, the creation of three new permanent funds, and the removal of barriers and improved access through streamlined grantmaking processes.

Measuring the Impact of COVID-19 on Wellbeing in Greater New Haven

Read more stories about people and nonprofits supporting the community with compassion and perseverance.

The Valley Community COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has rapidly deployed flexible resources to organizations throughout the Valley that serve the Valley region, especially to those who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. Credit: Valley Community Foundation

The Valley Community Foundation

Partnerships Grow Resources for Relief and Recovery in the Valley

In March 2020, representatives from The Foundation's affiliate, the Valley Community Foundation (VCF), joined forces with the Valley United Way, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Valley Council of Health & Human Services to rapidly deploy resources to organizations supporting people in the Valley Region most significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaboration produced the Valley Community COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which distributed $235,000 through more than 60 grants to Valley-serving nonprofits between 2020 - 2021. Many of the grants have been for personal protective equipment and operational support for telehealth, virtual wellness, and remote access programming for organizations with staff working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. To further help Valley residents, VCF changed the priorities of its Needs and Opportunities grant process to give priority to pandemic-related requests, enhanced its grants and capacity building programs and initiated equity strategies to create new processes and structures that help close existing equity gaps by being more inclusive of people of color and individuals from other under-represented groups.

On April 8, 2020, Foundation President and CEO Will Ginsberg and Senior Vice President for Grantmaking and Strategy Christina Ciociola provided donors with the first among many updates on The Community Foundation’s response to COVID-19. The remote briefing also shared what The Foundation learned from Greater New Haven nonprofits about the impacts of the crisis on the sector and broader community. Credit: The Community Foundation

Virtual Engagement With Community

Donor Briefings, Nonprofit Workshops and Payments Go Digital

Starting mid-March 2020, The Foundation hosted only virtual events. The first of many donor briefings shared information about The Foundation’s initial responses to COVID-19 followed by updates about Greater New Haven’s COVID-19 Community Fund, the work happening to address food insecurity, and the racial and ethnic disparities and mental health concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic - to name a few. In addition, more than 400 nonprofit personnel were aided in the first year of the pandemic by 14 virtual workshops on topics such as self-care and guided meditation. A series on how to power through COVID-19 offered resources and a road map relative to how to survive and eventually emerge stronger than ever. The Foundation also pivoted to processing grant and vendor payments digitally.

View past workshops and recordings for nonprofits.