When the coronavirus pandemic arrived in New York City in early 2020, most residents were unprepared for the scale of disruption that the virus would cause across all aspects of City life.

Nowhere was this more noticeable than in the nonprofit sector, especially organizations which help those most in need in our City – individuals with special needs, the elderly, and the homeless. Nonprofits needed to swiftly modify the way we provided services – especially since person-to-person contact was discouraged and people were encouraged to stay at home.

Fortunately, the New York philanthropic community realized that nonprofits would face extraordinary challenges in the early days of the pandemic. For example, The New York Community Trust working with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation, established the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund to provide emergency funding where it was needed most – helping NYC nonprofits help those with the fewest resources and the greatest need.

Urban Pathways realized that we would have unexpected costs arising from the pandemic and applied for funding from this Fund in March. In April, we were awarded a grant of $180,000 to offset the cost of pay differentials to staff who worked onsite during the crisis, ensuring that our programs remained fully open and operational, and that all essential back-office functions continued without interruption.

The New York Community Trust recently published a report on how this Fund saved many NYC nonprofits. Resilience and Resolve: NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund Report provides an in-depth look at how philanthropists showed their support of the nonprofit community.

On March 20th – the same day “New York State on Pause” was declared by Governor Cuomo; the Fund had reached $75 million in donations. On that day, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) were issued, and applications began pouring in soon thereafter. Many nonprofits began receiving grants in April. By June, $73 million in grants had been awarded – $43.7 million to human-services organizations, $29.4 million to arts and culture organizations. An additional $37 million in no-interest loans were awarded to 45 nonprofits through the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

In order to ensure that the needs of people of color were not overlooked, the Fund’s administrators made sure these needs were addressed through grant awards. Fifty-six percent of nonprofits awarded grants had a majority of staff members who are people of color.

784 applications were received from human-services nonprofits, with 383 grants being awarded. The median grant amount was $100,000. Thirty-seven percent of awarded funds went toward personnel costs; 17 percent to help meet urgent IT needs of nonprofits; 10 percent for client food needs; and 8 percent to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Urban Pathways benefitted from the quick action of the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, as well as the response from many of our foundation and corporate partners. In addition to funds for pay differentials received from the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, other funders provided salary support and technical assistance, funds to purchase supplemental food, PPE and cleaning supplies for our clients, as well as general operating support which helped to ensure that our clients had what they needed, including uninterrupted services and vital emotional support during a period of intense isolation and uncertainty.

Words can never express how deeply grateful every member of the Urban Pathways’ community is to the foundations and corporate supporters which helped see us through some of the “worst of times,” but we would like to briefly acknowledge the grants provided by the following partners:

  • The Barker Welfare Foundation
  • City National Bank
  • The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation
  • Mother Cabrini Health Foundation
  • The New York Community Trust
  • PDT Partners
  • Robin Hood
  • Trinity Church Wall Street
  • Zegar Family Fund

Our corporate, foundation and public partners also provided in-kind support, including providing us with masks, gowns, face shields, cleaning supplies, and pro bono assistance. We would like to thank them for their support as well: Citizens of Humanity, Covington & Burling LLC, Cut Red Tape for Heroes, Grey Matter Concepts, Lullaby Baby, New York City Department of Homeless Services, Public Health Solutions, Section 119, Seven Valleys LLC, and the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SNHHY).

By Urban Pathways on February 18, 2021