COVID-19 Community Response Funds and Mutual Aid Resource List

Philanthropy, both institutional and individual, is being asked to play a significant role during this time of crisis. Across the sector, we are seeing organizations and funders coming together, leaning into what we have always known at WA Women’s Foundation – a collective response is the best way to address urgent needs. With the need being so great and immediate, the opportunities to give are many and varied. To help you as you make decisions about how you wish to engage, we have compiled this list of organizations and collective response funds helping individuals and communities navigate the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This list will be updated periodically as we receive information on new response funds and mutual aid efforts. However, we know that our list will never be fully comprehensive. Just as this public health crisis has magnified long-existing, systemic inequities in our society, we also are seeing funding gaps emerge across the state. Whether it’s due to the limited scope of grants, who’s considered eligible, or the focus on specific geographical areas, some groups are being left out and some needs are simply not being addressed. We will do our best to share resources that especially help these communities. 

WA Women’s Foundation is committed to a model of trust-based philanthropy; we dedicate time to building relationships with our grantees, other nonprofit organizations, and other funders in our community, so that we can best be of service to them, especially during these times of great need. We encourage you to reach out to the nonprofit organizations with whom you have relationships – especially those that are not on this list – and support them in every way that you can.  

We are also curious to hear what organizations or funds you have given to. Leave a comment below to share! 

Note About Which Funds & Organizations Are Listed 

Our goals in compiling and sharing this list were to: 

  • Provide an easy-to-access list for members, donors, and friends of the Foundation to learn about different ways to give in response to COVID-19 and its impact on communities across Washington State 
  • Highlight the work of our grantees and community partners 
  • Feature funds that support communities that are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic 
  • Share other ways you can act and use your influence to support the nonprofit sector 

When creating this list, we prioritized the following funds: 

  • Open to individual contributions 
  • Hosted by or created in partnership with organizations with whom we have existing relationships, including our grantees and community partners who act as intermediaries and/or regrant to other organizations and/or individuals 
  • Assisting groups of individuals or communities within Washington State, especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and which have been historically under-funded by institutional philanthropy 

For our members who have questions about any of the funds listed, we encourage you to be guided by one of the core principles of trust-based philanthropy – do your own homework and analysis, using online resources and the tools and skills you have learned through your involvement with WA Women’s Foundation. 

Last updated Tuesday, May 5, 2020 

Work Our Grantees Are Doing 

If you are interested in supporting our current and past grantees that are providing direct services to communities affected by this pandemic, here are some examples of what they are doing: 

  • 1998 Human Services grantee FareStart is working with a variety of community partners to prepare meals for individuals and families across King County. Catalyst Kitchens, FareStart’s national membership and consulting initiative, is also working with nonprofits across the country to help fill gaps in local food insecurity. Read a Seattle Times article about their meal production efforts. 
  • 2006 Health grantee Pike Place Market Foundation launched the Market Community Safety Net Campaign to raise funds to support the Market community through this crisis. 
  • 2009 Human Services grantee Mockingbird Society is matching gifts given to support their work with young people and families experiencing foster care or homelessness.  
  • 2013 Human Services grantee Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) encourages individuals to take action for immigrants this spring. They offer Learning Friday webinars covering topics around U.S. immigration law and policies and how NWIRP is fighting for a more just and equitable future for all community members. They also offer ways you can use your voice to support immigrants on Take Action Tuesdays. 
  • 2013 Innovation (now Emerging Issues) Partner Grant grantee Southeast Seattle Education Coalition is facilitating a Tech Exchange to support students and families of color in transitioning to online learning.  
  • 2017 Health grantee FEEST is providing free groceries delivered to their students and families. 
  • 2018 Education grantee La Casa Hogar has teamed up with Nuestra Casa to set up the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which will help Yakima Valley families who have little or no access to other forms of government support. They are also working together to provide critical information and news about COVID-19 in Spanish. Learn more about these efforts in this KUOW article.  
  • 2019 Education grantee Unloop is fundraising to support their formerly incarcerated students who were prepared for internship placements, to start their own businesses, and to start school, but now are waiting with uncertainty due to COVID-19. 
  • 2019 Human Services grantee Chief Seattle Club is fundraising to pay for emergency housing and motel rooms to shelter homeless Native members, especially those who are elders or have chronic illnesses.  

While a number of our current and past grantees are based in the Greater Seattle region, this also is a good opportunity to support our grantees in other areas of the state. 

Response Funds Hosted by Our Community Partners 

Community Relief Fund: COVID-19 
United Way of King County has set up this fund to provide food and rental assistance to individuals and families across King County. They are also working with several community organizations to meet capacity to process applications for rental assistance, ensure application materials are accessible in languages other than English, and provide legal aid to support applicants. 

COVID-19 Arts Emergency Fund 
The ArtsFund COVID-19 Arts Emergency Fund helps arts and cultural organizations maintain essential functions and retain core staff through the current public health crisis so that they are positioned to reopen when possible. 

COVID-19 Relief Fund for Undocumented Individuals in Washington State 
Founded by the Washington Dream Coalition, a coalition of nonprofit organizations including our past grantee Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, this fund provides emergency and preventative financial relief to undocumented individuals that are at financial risk. Many undocumented people work in jobs that are most vulnerable to exposure to the virus and to the economic impacts of the pandemic. From getting laid off, working either non-essential or essential jobs, and not having access to healthcare, the undocumented community has limited access to government resources and a safety net to be able to take care of themselves and their families during this crisis. 

Native Community Crisis Response Fund: COVID-19 
Na’ah Illahee Fund has created a crisis fund to provide immediate and direct assistance to under-served Native communities and groups working to respond to the crisis throughout Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. Na’ah Illahee Fund’s intent is to quickly distribute resources to frontline Native organizations and individuals who are providing essential services to indigenous communities within the next three months to provide gap resources during this time of extreme hardship. 

The Plate Fund 
Schultz Family Foundation has teamed up with a number of organizations to create The Plate Fund, an initiative that provides immediate, one-time payments of $500 to the most impacted restaurant-industry workers in King County. The funds are intended to help people pay for essentials like food, medicine, transportation, baby products and phone bills. For many, these payments will help “bridge the gap” between the time they received their last paychecks and when they receive government support. For others, this may be the only money they receive. 

Seattle Artists Relief Fund Amid COVID-19 
Started by author Ijeoma Oluo and hosted by Langston Seattle, this fund is aimed to help those in the greater Seattle arts community who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists – though the fund will try to help as many artists in Seattle as possible. 

Seattle Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund 
Housed at Seattle Foundation, this Fund makes grants to nonprofits that are working on the frontlines to provide our region’s most vulnerable communities with emergency assistance, such as financial support, healthcare, and childcare. 

Social Justice Fund COVID-19 Crisis Fund 
In response to coronavirus/COVID-19, Social Justice Fund has launched an emergency fund to support Social Justice Fund grantees, many of whom are grassroots organizers that are on the frontline of caring for communities during this public health crisis. Initial grants are $3,000 and can support a variety of strategies to meet community needs and support mutual aid. 

WA Food Fund  
Hosted by Philanthropy Northwest and supported by the Ballmer Group, the WA Food Fund supports food banks and pantries across the state so they can maintain their food supplies. Three Washington-based organizations working on the frontlines of food insecurity – Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest and Second Harvest – will use these funds to distribute food to hundreds of food banks across the state from our cities to our most rural communities.      

Washington State Student and Youth Homelessness COVID-19 Response Fund 
Raikes Foundation and Building Changes have teamed up to create this fund that will work with organizations and school districts to provide financial assistance to youth and families for housing, food, educational, health, and basic needs. 

Funds Supporting Communities Outside of King County 

Philanthropy Northwest has compiled a list of statewide and county-by-county efforts from community foundations and United Ways to provide relief to communities affected by COVID-19. This list includes the following funds we featured in our recent “Let’s Talk Donor Resources” event: 

  • Coronavirus Response Fund 
    The Community Foundation of Snohomish County is providing flexible resources to organizations in our region (Snohomish County) working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak. 
  • COVID-19 Response Fund 
    Renton Regional Community Foundation is providing flexible financial support to organizations in South King County working with some of the most vulnerable populations who are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of this pandemic.  
  • Yakima Valley Resilience and Response Fund  
    Yakima Valley Community Foundation has set up a fund to support and help sustain charitable organizations and agencies as they work to address the COVID-19 virus and its impacts on the Yakima Valley, particularly our valley’s most vulnerable populations. 
  • The SW Washington COVID Response Fund 
    The Community Foundation of Southwest Washington is providing flexible financial support to trusted nonprofit partners across our region (Clark, Cowlitz, and Skamania Counties) who are responding to increasing needs as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 
  • COVID-19 Community Response Funds  
    Innovia Foundation is rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the region’s coronavirus outbreak in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. They are working with a Regional Pandemic Community Advisory Group consisting of funding partners and community representatives to make grant decisions. 

Other Community Funds 

CID Restaurants and Other Small Businesses Relief Fund 
Hosted by Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), this relief fund will give direct dollars to restaurants and small businesses in the Chinatown-International District area to help them mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Many of these restaurants and small businesses have had a severe decline in business since early February, a month before Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order was enacted. 

College Success Foundation COVID-19 Student Support Fund 
This fund helps high school and college students supported by the Foundation whose lives are disrupted by COVID-19. Students and their families face additional academic and financial challenges due to loss of income, food and housing insecurity and more. Additionally, College Success Foundation has created a Resource Guide for students and their families. To learn more, click here.

Education Equity Fund
Launched by Seattle Public Schools and Alliance for Education, this fund helps ensure students can continue to learn during the COVID-19 crisis. Donations will fund Internet access for students, technical assistance for families, printed learning materials, and laptops for educators. 

Frontline Response Fund: COVID-19 
Front & Centered, a coalition of 75+ grassroots organizations based in and led by communities of color, has created a fund to provide immediate and direct assistance to their grantees working to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in Washington State, due to the financial, social, and health impacts of the coronavirus on indigenous people and communities of color. 

Ingersoll Gender Center COVID-19 Response Programs 
The Center’s response programs provide direct financial assistance to trans and gender diverse folks who reside in and out of King County. 

Overlake Medical Center and Clinics COVID-19 Response 
Funds raised will continue to support caregivers in the midst of this crisis and help equip Overlake’s medical facilities with testing equipment. They also welcome donations of unopened packages of N95 and standard procedure masks, disinfectant wipes, gloves, hand sanitizer, and PPE suits and gowns, as well as 100% cotton dual-layer homemade fabric masks. 

Native American Community Response Fund (COVID-19) 
Hosted by Native Americans in Philanthropy, the Decolonizing Wealth Project, and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, the national fund supports “Native American nonprofits on the ground who are caring for our most vulnerable – relatives facing food insecurity, access to housing, and our low-income elderly.” 

Seattle Children’s COVID-19 Response 
Seattle Children’s has set up several funds in response to the crisis: Greatest Needs Fund, Mental Health Response Fund, Patient Emergency Assistance Fund, Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, and COVID-19 Research Fund. They also welcome donations of FDA-approved basic isolation masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks. 

Support Coronavirus Research at Fred Hutch 
Fred Hutch’s team of researchers and scientists have been studying the coronavirus before the first cases hit Washington State. They’re continuing to use genetic sequencing data and complex statistical models to understand the virus’s spread and evolution, which help will help develop successful strategies to monitor and control the outbreak. 

UW Medicine Emergency Response Fund 
Gifts made to the fund will help ramp up COVID-19 testing, provide care for the most vulnerable, coordinate the state’s emergency response, support research, and provide lifesaving equipment and resources to ensure the health and well-being of UW Medicine’s patients and medical teams. UW Medicine is also accepting donations of disposable face masks (including N95 masks), clear face shields, clear safety/medical glasses or goggles, Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) Systems, exam and surgical gloves, isolation gowns, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer.  

Ventures Business Grant Program 
Ventures is providing grants to their clients who have lost their jobs while experiencing reduced business sales. They are also continuing to provide coaching and training to their clients, and recently opened a new online retail store that sells their clients’ products. 

#UseYourInfluence: Advocacy Opportunities 

Got Green has a petition that demands emergency justice by Governor Inslee and other elected officials to address the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the petition here

Independent Sector, a national organization, is working on behalf of the nonprofit sector, advocating for their inclusion in federal emergency aid packages. Head to their website to learn more about their work and advocacy positions. 

Northwest Harvest has a dedicated page on their website that tracks legislative updates pertaining to families and food access. Read their updates here

Seattle Restaurants United has a petition that demands immediate relief for restaurant workers from local, state, and federal governments.  

Washington Nonprofits has put together a list of actions to contact your legislator and share your support for the nonprofit community. 

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