Supporting a Just Recovery from COVID - High Impact Giving Guide

By Abby Rolland

Recently, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) at the University of Pennsylvania and under the leadership of Founding Executive Director, Katherina (Kat) Rosqueta, hosted the webinar “How to Support a Just Recovery From COVID” about its newly released High Impact Giving Guide. This year’s guide focuses on questions many are asking – how can funders and philanthropists support nonprofits as they recover from COVID?

While you can check out the full guide via the link above, we wanted to share some of the findings that researchers discovered and their resulting recommendations. The Guide’s authors spent time in community, speaking with people and nonprofits to see how recovery could be aided.


On the webinar, they first discussed five key areas needed for a more just and equitable recovery.


· Ensuring Early School Success

· Supporting Youth and Young Adults

· Addressing Mental Health

· Meeting Basic Needs

· Ensuring Sustainable Livelihoods


While these categories represent different subsectors, each tie into each other. For example, supporting youth as they transition into the young adult phase also means addressing any mental health concerns. Meeting basic needs of students will help them achieve school success. Ensuring sustainable livelihoods will assist current generations in meeting today’s challenges, as well as future issues as well. While these categories are not an exhaustive list of how to contribute to COVID recovery, they provide some ideas for donors to strengthen vital organizations working toward a more equitable, inclusive, and resilient recovery.


CHIP also laid out how donors can address structural inequality (a topic that harp-weaver ponders regularly!).


· Inclusivity: How are the intended beneficiaries involved in the assessment process?

· Durability of power: How will “power gains” for nonprofits who submit a proposal be assured?

· Strength of evidence: What is the case that the organization is making for potential success?

· Organization capacity: What is the systems-level impact of the organization and/or project that is seeking funding?

· Systems-level impact: What are the approaches to addressing systems-level barriers?


Several funders on the webinar also noted ways to share power with organizations, including trust-based philanthropy, paying more attention to organizations who did not receive funding, and listening to communities. harp-weaver is proud to partner with clients who strive to incorporate these ideas into their own work. Whether it be through providing more general operating support, convening organizations to listen and hear from them about the issues they face, or easing application and reporting requirements, harp-weaver recognizes that it takes intentional efforts on the part of funders to ease the power imbalance between nonprofits and funders, reduce burdens on nonprofits, and listen to others to create a more equitable future.


We look forward to seeing how funders of all types are involved in strengthening people, organizations, and communities as we recover from COVID-19 and its devastating effects.


For more information on these topics, check out harp-weaver’s reading list for resources on equitable grantmaking. Exponent Philanthropy also has excellent information for you, your family, and/or your foundation about grantmaking for small- or no-staffed funders.

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