Frequently Asked Questions

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The Foundation established the VT COVID-19 Response Fund to provide individuals, businesses, and other grantmakers a one-stop shop where donations are pooled and deployed in a coordinated manner that can quickly adapt to changing circumstances.

The Foundation’s role is to be a trusted partner who can support and elevate effective philanthropy.  In times of crisis we are the organization to aggregate and coordinate funding on behalf of donors across the state, region, and from national organizations and funders and to deploy these resources for the response and recovery phases of this crisis. Serving in this role, the Foundation can motivate giving from many sources and coordinate a philanthropic response including working with community and state leaders to support the most vulnerable Vermonters and reduce the burden on nonprofit organizations.

The Foundation played an important role in responding to and recovering from Tropical Storm Irene and has continued its civic leadership through various initiatives including Understanding Vermont, The Food and Farm Initiative, and The Opportunity Gap. Understanding and elevating the priorities of Vermont and Vermonters and then bringing the people and resources together to make a difference is our mission – every day - as well as in times of crisis.

To ensure we can move resources quickly and to those with the greatest need, we are only considering unrestricted donations at this time.

Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support, including the nonprofit organizations who’ve benefited from your participation in events or depend heavily on public gatherings and ticket sales (i.e. arts and culture organizations). Giving to the VT COVID-19 Response Fund is an opportunity to support a statewide, coordinated response effort for which grantmaking will be deployed for both response and recovery phases of the crisis. For the response phase, grants will be directed to small, medium, and large community organizations that are on the front lines of the crisis standing up critical supports in their communities to help the vulnerable meet basic human needs. Funding will be deployed flexibly, without restriction and directed to fill gaps, mitigate inequity, and reduce the burdens of its nonprofit recipients.

A list of the organizations who have received grants from the VT Covid-19 Response Fund, can be found here: Round I Grants, Round II Grants, and Round III Grants. For inspiring stories of community resilience, please visit our Community Stories page

Yes! We welcome other philanthropic entities to join us in this collective giving fund and will keep you apprised of grants deployed by the COVID-19 Fund. Please contact Stacie Fagan, Vice President for Philanthropy at [email protected]

Giving is a personal decision and we invite you to consult with a philanthropic advisor to discuss your goals and how to maximize your giving at this time. If you have donor advised fund with the Foundation or would like to open a fund, one of the benefits of working with us is that you have access to our team of advisors who can help you navigate questions about giving.  We will work with you and your advisors (financial planners, tax advisors, attorneys) to determine which assets to use and how to deploy giving today and tomorrow, as impacts of the crisis become more visible.

Some considerations when making a giving plan in times of crisis:

  • Accelerate giving; give now versus later in the year to organizations you support regularly.
  • Give general operating support, versus program or restricted gifts, which allows nonprofits to meet their greatest needs.
  • Add charitable dollars to a donor advised fund now to increase charitable capacity and flexibility to make more grants over the duration of the crisis.
  • The CARES ACT, passed by Congress in April 2020, has provided incentives in 2020 to increase charitable giving. Speak with your tax advisor about how these incentives apply to your personal circumstances. See these details about the incentives HERE.

When in doubt, start with the organizations you currently support, by making your annual gift to general operations. For general council from our grants and community investments team about giving in this time, please visit our Giving Recommendations relative to COVID-19.

The Foundation’s philanthropic advisors can help you identify and prioritize grants to meet immediate needs in your community or across the state as well as develop a strategy for navigating giving over the duration of the crisis.

Consider making a gift to the COVID-19 Response Fund which is designed to make COVID-19 related giving easy and to pool resources for maximum response and impact.  The Foundation is putting resources to work in communities statewide and coordinating with local, regional, and state partners to maximize philanthropic investments at each stage of the crisis.

Yes, the Foundation is partnering with organizations like Vermont State Employee Credit Union (VSECU) and others to deploy financial resources through both traditional grantmaking and mission investments. The VSECU collaboration provided no-interest loans to Vermonters.