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COVID-19 Fund Tab- Background

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is being given by the Momentum Fund?

The Momentum Fund will award a total of $8.5 million to 501(c)(3) organizations that are managing active COVID-19 funds, thanks to an investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The maximum grant award will be $100,000.

What is the Momentum Fund’s definition of an active COVID-19 fund?

The Momentum Fund will consider providing support to a 501(c)(3) organizations that is managing a COVID-19 fund that has the following characteristics:

  • The fund can accept contributions from multiple donors, which can include foundation and corporate donors, and is open to contributions from individual donors.
  • The fund is hosted at a 501(c)(3) organization that is serving as an intermediary to re-grant from the fund to other 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • The fund is focused on supporting COVID-19 response, relief and recovery efforts.
  • The fund is currently accepting contributions.

The Momentum Fund will consider providing support to an organization managing a COVID-19 fund that has accepted government funding, as long as it is not more than 50% funding source for the fund.

The Momentum Fund will not consider providing support to an organization managing a COVID-19 fund hosted at crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe or to an organization managing a fund to support its own individual work.

The Momentum Fund cares deeply about equity and will give priority to organizations that are managing funds to meet the needs of women, communities of color and other populations and geographic communities that are being hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic and that have been historically marginalized and under-served.

What types of 501(c)(3) organizations could be potential grant recipients?

Examples of the types of organization that could be potential Momentum Fund grant recipients include community foundations, women’s foundations, public foundations, social justice foundations, United Ways, philanthropy-serving organizations and community-led nonprofit organizations.

Who is managing the Momentum Fund?

United Philanthropy Forum is managing the operations of the fund. The Forum helps people who do good to do good better. The Forum is a national network of 86 regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) that collectively represent more than 7,000 funders, making it the largest network serving philanthropy in America. The Forum’s members represent the geographies, issues and populations that are served by philanthropy and that have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as the Momentum Fund is helping to build the capacity of organizations that are facilitating more and better giving to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum works to build the capacity of PSOs that facilitate effective philanthropy.

How will grant recipients be selected?

Applications for the Momentum Fund will be accepted unitl 3:00 pm ET on Thursday, June 18, 2020. Eligible applications will be evaluated by a 20-member Grant Review Committee The Committee is comprised of representatives of United Philanthropy Forum members from across the country that represent the populations, communities and geographies most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee will review, score and make recommendations for funding to the Momentum Fund Advisory Board.

The five-member Momentum Fund Advisory Board is providing guidance for the activities of the Fund and will make final decisions about the grants to be awarded. The Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from the philanthropic infrastructure who advocate for some of the communities and populations being hit hardest by the pandemic. Representatives from the following organizations comprise the membership of the Momentum Fund Advisory Board: CHANGE Philanthropy; Donors of Color Network; Funders Together to End Homelessness; Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and Grantmakers in Aging.

Are there specific sorts of organizations that the Momentum Fund is looking to support?

The fund’s Advisory Board is focused on support 501(c)(3) organizations that are managing COVID-19 response and recovery funds that give grants to other 501(c)(3) organizations that are meeting the needs of populations and geographic communities that have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic and that have been historically marginalized and under-served. This can include women, specific communities of color, rural communities, low-income communities, older adults, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, undocumented immigrants and their families, non-English speakers, people experiencing food insecurity, people experiencing domestic abuse, people experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness, people experiencing incarceration or detainment, people with no health care coverage, and people with compromised immune systems. Priority will be given to organizations that have not previously received COVID-related financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What are examples of potential Momentum Fund grant recipients?

Here are a few examples of the types of 501(c)(3) organizations that would be potential grant recipients from the Momentum Fund:

  • A community-based 501(c)(3) organization in a major city has created a COVID-19 fund to support nonprofits serving under-insured COVID patients in the city’s Black communities. It needs to hire a grant manager for at least 12 months at a cost of $100,000.
  • A community foundation and United Way have come together to establish a statewide COVID-19 fund at the community foundation that is focused on supporting human service organizations that are addressing food insecurity for youth who have been impacted by the crisis. They are seeking $50,000 for an outreach and publicity campaign to identify potential grantees across the state.
  • A 501(c)(3) organization in a rural county has set up a COVID-19 fund to accept gifts from foundations, corporations and individual to provide grants to local nonprofits that are meeting the needs of isolated Latinx/o/a older people who have been impacted by the pandemic. It is seeking $25,000 to improve its online application platform.