The confluence of crises sparked new collaborations across the Washington, D.C., area. Philanthropy, nonprofits, business leaders and community leaders came together — quickly and in new ways — to identify and support solutions. In addition to our role in creating the D.C. Child Care Reopening Fund, the Bainum Family Foundation supported the following collaborative efforts.
COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, established by the Greater Washington Community Foundation, is helping local nonprofits respond quickly and effectively to the region’s evolving needs in areas ranging from food, housing and health care to education, employment and racial justice. This relief effort is focused on communities that are most adversely affected by the crises, including low-income households and communities of color. We are one of nearly 50 funding partners participating in this coordinated regional effort. Within the first six months, the fund had raised $8 million and disbursed $7 million in grants to 200 local nonprofits, 50% of which are led by people of color.
Diverse City Fund
Unequal access to health care, food and resources is rooted in long-standing racial and economic inequities. As these issues were worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Diverse City Fund — a local grant-making organization dedicated to racial justice that invests financial and social capital for social justice — moved quickly to create a rapid-response fund. Like the ongoing work of Diverse City Fund, this emergency fund supports grassroots organizations led by people of color in the Washington, D.C., region. These leaders have been organizing for years to meet community needs with limited resources and understand what is needed. We are one of several funders contributing to this relief effort.
Get Shift Done for the DMV
Dramatic spikes in job losses and food insecurity in spring 2020 ultimately led to a solution that addresses both. The Greater Washington Community Foundation teamed up with Nationals Philanthropies (the charitable arm of the Washington Nationals baseball team) to create Get Shift Done for the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia), building on an idea that started in Texas. The initiative coordinates, schedules and pays displaced workers from the hospitality industry to work shifts for local food-access providers. We joined with other funders to provide wages of $15 per hour for these workers. The local program started in late April, and by August, Get Shift Done for the DMV was funding more than 1,300 hours of shift work weekly to support 32 different nonprofit programs engaged in food-relief work.
Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience and Access Coalition
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, as food shortages began to emerge, it became clear that the issue wasn’t a lack of food but rather a lack of food in the right places. Crops were rotting in fields and grocery stores had empty shelves because supply lines had been disrupted, hurting those on both ends of the food chain. Economic hardship due to widespread job losses compounded the problem of food insecurity, with low-income households and communities of color hit hardest.
Several of our partners — led by 4P Foods and Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture — came together to devise a regional solution: the Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience and Access Coalition (MAFRAC). This collaboration works to mobilize the Mid-Atlantic foodshed’s resources and assets to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on vulnerable communities and food-related businesses in the region. The coalition made 33 grants totaling $322,827 to feeding organizations by mid-2020, and more than 100 grants totaling $700,000 by year-end. It also rescued and redistributed thousands of pounds of food from regional producers to partner organizations across the region.
The Bainum Family Foundation is a founding donor of MAFRAC, joining more than a dozen other funders in creating this invaluable resource.