COVID-19 Collaborative Funder Response


up to $10,000

Application Deadline



The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects have introduced unprecedented challenges to us all in just a few weeks’ time. The non-profit, business and public sectors are all facing seismic shifts in how they work and what they do. They will continue to face more challenges in the months to come.  

In response to this, the Triangle Community Foundation (TCF) convened Funders from across the Triangle, including current members of the Triangle Capacity Building Network (TCBN): Triangle Community Foundation, Oak Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, John Rex Endowment, and Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, on March 19, 2020 to discuss potential collaboration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From this conversation, several themes emerged: 1) there’s consensus that there is an important role for medium/long-term support that will complement rapid response efforts that have emerged; 2) there’s consensus that we want to support nonprofits, listen to them, let them lead, but not over-survey/tax them; and 3) there is a desire to keep the conversation going about how we individually and perhaps collectively provide support.

TCBN took this feedback, as well as the NC Center for Nonprofits Summary of Needs Expressed by Nonprofits and an internal survey of our grantees, to develop a collaborative strategy to support the nonprofit community in response to COVID-19 now, and with an eye towards both the immediate stabilization and the future viability of these essential organizations in the Triangle.


TCBN has adopted a three-phased approach to addressing the ramifications of COVID-19. This grant opportunity will respond to Phase 2, supporting the stabilization of nonprofits across the Triangle.

  • Phase 1. Rapid Response (March–May 2020): Take immediate action to offer flexible funding for current grantees and make donations to rapid response funds that are focused on urgent gaps in safety net services with the most marginalized populations.
  • Phase 2: Stabilization (May—October 2020): Deploy general operating grants that support organizations led by and are supporting people of color and addresses the need for adaption and innovation to ensure continued viability of the organizations during and post COVID-19. Specifically, these grants would support the staff and leadership capacity needs to effectively leverage adaptations for changing business models, as well as essential upgrades to technological infrastructure.
  • Phase 3: Recovery & Resilience (October 2020 – October 2022): TCBN, in partnership with other funders and donors, deploy grants to strengthen the business models, financial health and sustainability of nonprofits. Additionally, provide opportunities for nonprofit convenings/trainings/roundtables as a resource to nonprofits, recognizing that we cannot fund every nonprofit organization in the Triangle and as a strategy for strengthening the Triangle nonprofit ecosystem.

Our focus on organizations led by people of color is informed by both nonprofit data about access to capital and an acknowledgment of how past injustices manifest in present-day disparities. Data has shown that nonprofit organizations led by executive directors of color face additional challenges to accessing capital compared to peer organizations with white leaders (Race to Lead; Echo Green; Building Movement Project). We know that communities of color are the most disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. It is important that the nonprofits led by and serving these communities have access to funding during this time – and are likely to find greater difficulty accessing it through the CARES Act.

Guiding Values

  • Let the nonprofits lead in terms of needs identification and COVID-19 response strategies
  • Practice trust-based philanthropy, including flexible funding and minimizing reporting and information gathering burden on grantees
  • Equity—inequities are often exacerbated in times of crisis. We are committed to supporting communities most impacted by this pandemic

Eligibility Criteria (Phase 2)

  • Must be Triangle based and serving (Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham, counties) 
  • Must be a 501(c)(3) and must abide by the Foundation’s non-discrimination policy 
  • Must have an organizational budget of less than $5 million
  • Must be led by and serving people of color
    • Led by as defined as:
      • Executive Director (ED) identifies as a person of color; or
      • Over 50% of your Senior Staff identify as a person of color (even if your ED is not); or
      • Over 50% of your Board of Directors identify as people of color
    • Serving as defined by:
      • Over 50% of your service recipients identify as people of color


Costs associated with changing business model and innovating through technology and other strategies to continue operations or service delivery. Examples of this can include but are not limited to:

  • Human Resources: Maintain a knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled workforce of employees and volunteers to perform leadership and management duties and responsibilities
  • Strategic Planning/Business Planning: Work with consultants to develop a plan to adapt to the changing environment as a result of COVID-19
  • Strategic Communications: Use marketing and branding strategies to promote actions and impact, ensure a positive public image, and sustain financial resources
  • Partnership & Collaboration: Build collaborative partnerships to accomplish program and organizational goals, and activate strategic alliances for continued service delivery
  • Information Technology: Access to telecommunications software; tech equipment (phones, computers, etc.); training on telecommunications including using software and online content support; app development; etc. This includes reimbursement for unexpected costs already incurred

These examples are based on North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, Principles & Practices: Best Practices for North Carolina Nonprofits (Raleigh, NC; NC Center for Nonprofits 2019).  Available at More examples can be found in the table here.

Timeline, Amount, & Process

Applications must be submitted by May 15, 2020. Applicants will be notified by Monday, June 15, 2020. Grant amounts up to $10,000. If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in applying for a grant, please submit an application using Triangle Community Foundation’s online grant management system. Information about creating a profile and using the system is available at Applications will be reviewed by TCF’s Community Engagement team. The Community Engagement team will recommend a pool of grantees to an Advisory Committee for final approval.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Does the organization adequately express an adaptive capacity need?
  • How strong is the organization’s proposal to address that need?
  • Level of impact this funding would have on communities most impacted by COVID-19.

Information Session

Program staff recorded an information session, which can be viewed here.


At the conclusion of the grant period, recipients will be asked to submit a report outlining the accomplishments of the funding.

Please reach out to us if you have questions PRIOR to the deadline!