The COVID-19 crisis has Dallas philanthropic organizations responding to needs together in ways that could likely bring long-lasting changes to how they serve the area.
“I think we’re going to learn some things from this process that will make us even better grantors and supporters of this community,” Communities Foundation of Texas CEO David Scullin said. “It’s time to take a fresh look at everything we do, how do we do more with less, how do we deliver the service that’s needed.”
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas CEO Jennifer Sampson touted the ongoing collaboration.
“Collaboration amongst nonprofits, collaboration with government, the nonprofit sector, with corporations, coordinating and collaborating across all of our sectors is going to be critically important as we move forward,” she said. “We’re going to come out of this on the other side, and our work will be more important than ever before because we’re going to be leaders in rebuilding.”
The United Way’s needs assessment identified issues like access to food and basic supplies, access to services like healthcare and childcare, access to alternative sources of income because of job loss, access to the Internet and technology, overcrowding in shelters, and loss of funding for ongoing nonprofit organization operations.
“We’re mobilizing, we are ready to address needs, and we are eager to make grants,” Sampson said.
Dallas Foundation CEO Matthew Randazzo said his organization had made changes to be nimble, flexible, and support nonprofits in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Funders historically have loved to fund programmatic things with very specific outcomes, and there is a place and time for that, but we are at a moment where we need to be bold and flexible and responsive to the nonprofit sector,” Randazzo said.
“I don’t know what the new normal will look like, but I’m pretty… confident that the go-forward plan and playbook is going to be dramatically different from how we have operated as individual institutions,” he said. “I think we will see more collaboration; I think we will see a real balance between being responsive and being strategic.”
Texas Women’s Foundation CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson said the traditional grant cycle could return by the spring of 2021, “but for the balance of 2020, I think our calendar is dictated by the community’s reality.
“Goodness knows our whole economy in north Texas depends on the health of the North Texas nonprofit community,” Thompson said.
Randazzo also spoke about the importance of local organizations in the recovery process.
“I think we need to recognize that the problem solving that’s going to make a difference to the average north Texan is happening at Dallas ISD, it’s happening at Uplift Education, it’s happening at the North Texas Food Bank, it’s happening at city hall,” he said. “It is on-the ground operators that are really ensuring that folks have the basic things that they need to sustain themselves in a time of crisis.”
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