CFSA’s COVID-19 Response Strategy: Cumulative Giving Analysis

In March of 2020, our world changed forever due to COVID-19. The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona quickly responded to the needs of our community and the nonprofits who serve them by providing financial resources in the form of grants. In collaboration with CFSA’s funding partners and generous donors, we have awarded over $3.7 million to date. After a year and a half of giving, CFSA gathered additional data from our COVID-19 relief funding grantees. One hundred sixty organizations were surveyed, with a response rate of 83%. From the data collected, we generated a cumulative giving analysis for CFSA’s COVID-19 grantmaking from March 2020 through October 2021, available to view in full here.

However, CFSA is not done. The needs of our communities carry on, and the challenges of this pandemic continue to affect lives daily. Since CFSA produced this report, an additional $50,000 has been granted to rural nonprofits fighting food insecurity.  Please consider making a donation to support this critical work as Southern Arizona’s nonprofit sector continues to adapt, rebuild, and recover. Your generosity makes all the difference.

COVID-19 Response Strategy Report Highlights:

Funded organizations varied in budget size, reach, and staff size. Organizations with 108 unique focus areas received funding, with the top three categories being human services, food banks and pantries, and education. Half of the groups funded had a budget of less than $1 million. In comparison, nearly one-third of the organizations funded were considered smaller organizations with a budget size of less than $250,000.

Funding was predominately available to organizations in CFSA’s primary service area – Pima County and Santa Cruz County. The most common uses of these funds were maintaining staffing and personnel and financially supporting each organization’s community. Of the organizations funded, 93% reported that they served marginalized populations.

Nonprofits were asked what actions they would have taken to manage the pandemic’s impact if they had not received additional funding. The majority of organizations responded that without COVID-19 relief funding, they would have faced the following options: reduce staff or reduce the number of people receiving essential services. Multiple organizations stated they would have had to close indefinitely.

Flexibility Through General Operating Support
Nonprofits were trusted to recognize their areas of immediate need and put funding towards them as they saw fit. A lack of restrictions on funding allowed our nonprofit partners to prioritize client services and organizational stability instead of further fundraising to fill revenue gaps.

Nonprofits were able to continue providing critical services to their clients and communities. Despite unpredicted closures and revenue losses, programs continued to run. Physical spaces remained open. People continued to be served.

Maintaining Staff
Nonprofits initially stated they were most worried about needing to reduce staff. Survey results showed that the majority of nonprofits utilized funding to maintain their staff and personnel, meaning people stayed in their positions throughout the pandemic.