By Kevin Ryan

The repercussions of COVID-19 and the associated economic effects will fundamentally change how we live, work, learn and interact for the foreseeable future. The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation understands that our collective weathering of the storm and recovery depends on the actions we take now. To serve the immediate and ongoing needs in our communities, we have made adjustments to our funding priorities and practices to help those on the front lines of COVID-19 relief.

Reducing Administrative Burden

Much like you, we have had to make adjustments to our strategic planning in response to this public health emergency. We examined and streamlined every facet of our grantmaking, funding strategies and processes to ensure we were not merely a funder, but we are a partner. We strive to be a responsive, progressive partner that enables and supports deeply impactful organizations to do what they do best – change the world.

Put simply, our new modus operandi is to ask less of you so you can do the work that is making a difference. We aim to give larger grants to our key partners to support their efforts in the field. Our new application is short and gets right to the point, and our reporting is streamlined and straightforward. We are still making adjustments and will be seeking your input and feedback as we go. More than anything else, we will continue to listen.

Unrestricting Grant Funds

We are a foundation that listens to our partners, and we heard you. We are reducing barriers and burdens, trusting the expertise of the nonprofits we partner with to deliver and produce results. That is why we are making our grant funds unrestricted in the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, we plan to unrestrict the vast majority of what we give this year and in the future. The pandemic has forced all of us to focus more on impact and less on minutiae. Today’s reality underscores why we are transforming, why it is urgent and why it is a permanent shift and not a temporary accommodation.

We want to purge the word “grantee” from our collective vocabulary. You are our partners. We will support you by offering our expertise, by being your biggest cheerleaders and by responding to your needs.

Our Commitment

We are not the only funder making these changes and commitments. The Council on Foundations, a network of foundations of which Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is a proud member, has issued a challenge and pledge to the philanthropic world. Much of it covers the direction and actions we had been working on and now pledge to live by. More than 300 Foundations have signed, we are proud to add our name to the growing chorus of good.

In summary, we are committed to responding to COVID-19 and its direct and indirect effects. We know this event is unprecedented. We know this is frightening. We are here, and we have your back. We are in this together. We are all still working to understand the scope, duration and consequences of this disaster, and I think we all feel uncertain. Yet, in this time of tumult, I am reminded of the adage that a rising tide lifts all boats. This phrase always reminds me of what is possible when we work collectively: we can raise the tide together.