May 15, 2020

Community Grant Program Responds and Adapts to COVID

By: Niyati Desai
Director of Community Engagement

State’s Largest Responsive Grantmaking Program Temporarily Shifts Resources to Oregon Community Recovery Fund

This extraordinary moment requires bold action to support Oregon organizations and communities most deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

In March 2020, we launched the largest responsive grant making program in the history of the Foundation. OCF’s new Oregon Community Recovery Fund Grant Program rapidly deploys resources to community-based organizations providing critical services and assistance that keeps people housed, fed, healthy, and safe. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis through a revamped and streamlined online application to rapidly distribute donated dollars.  As of early May, with support from hundreds of partners across the state, we have deployed more than $15M to 562 nonprofit organizations across Oregon.   

We recognize that COVID-19 is only widening the deep disparities that cause suffering for the most vulnerable in our state: communities of color, individuals who experience poverty, individuals who experience disabilities, individuals who experience homelessness, children and other vulnerable populations.

We know that it’s going to take much more to rebuild and we here for the long haul as the resiliency of our communities is tested. Our commitment to equity is unwavering and will continue to guide our work in responding to the mounting challenges of the pandemic.

For fall 2020, resources that had previously supported our long-standing Community Grant Program will be redirected to the Oregon Community Recovery Fund. We recognize this is short notice for nonprofits who have begun planning fall Community Grant requests. We don’t take this decision lightly and understand that this may result in shifts to plans and activities.

The Community Grants Program will continue to accept and review applications from organizations who had previously been invited to reapply in the fall and are in the middle of OCF-supported projects. Those organizations will be contacted directly with instructions for reapplying.

OCF remains accessible, responsive and engaged with communities through our new response efforts. We’re actively seeking additional support, for example by sharing funding applications from the Oregon Community Recovery Fund with donors and foundation partners who are looking for opportunities to support the community during this crisis.

We will continue to weigh community needs to determine how OCF will carry forward with our responsive grantmaking in 2021. Please stay tuned to our website and social media channels for any and all updates.