03/19/2020 in Announcements

Pandemic Response

Dear colleagues,

What a time this is.  We join many of you, I’m sure, from living rooms and kitchens, hunkering down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  Others, responsible for the direct care and comfort of our fellow citizens, are dutifully fulfilling their roles in the community.  We are deeply grateful to everyone who is playing a part in holding our community together in this time of crisis.

The George Gund Foundation is responding to the pandemic in several ways.  Yesterday we joined a group of philanthropic partners to announce the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.  Nearly $4 million has been pooled so far to provide flexible resources to organizations serving many of those most affected by the outbreak.  For details on this Fund, please visit https://www.clevelandfoundation.org/news/covid-19/response-fund/.

In addition to our commitment to that Fund we want to do all we can to help you during this extremely challenging time.  Consequently, please know that we have taken these steps:

  • If you have a special purpose or project grant from us and it would be more helpful to use those funds for operations, feel free to do so.  We ask only that you let us know.
  • We are extending grant report due dates until September 30 for those who have an earlier deadline.  And if greater flexibility is needed, we will work with you.  Please ignore any automated notices you may receive from our grants management system.
  • We are waiving the March 15 grant application deadline for those who wish to have an application considered at our July 2 Trustees meeting.  We will certainly consider requests in July that come in by May 1 and we will be as flexible as we can beyond that date.  As always, we will consider requests of $10,000 or less on a rolling basis at any time.  If you rushed to submit an application by March 15, we will accept updates and changes to those applications until at least May 1 as well.  Just send an email to your program officer or to Cindy Gasparro.

And, of course, we want to stay in touch with you.  For the time being we are conducting most meetings by phone or Zoom.  If you have any questions about the matters discussed here or any concerns about your work, please let us know.  We are happy to answer your questions and we are eager to help you think through problems and strategize around solutions.  We all are available by email as we work remotely.  And if you leave a voicemail message at the office, please know that those messages are retrieved throughout the day.  Here is how you can reach us:

Dave Abbott, Executive Director                                                                 dabbott@gundfdn.org      

Jennifer Coleman, Senior Program Officer Arts                          jcoleman@gundfdn.org      

Maya Curtis, Fellow                                                                     

Marcia Egbert, Senior Program Officer Human Services                         megbert@gundfdn.org  

Cindy Gasparro, Grants and Office Administrator                         cgasparro@gundfdn.org  

Travis Howard, Fellow                                                              

Bob Jaquay, Associate Director                                                                   rjaquay@gundfdn.org

John Mitterholzer, Senior Program Officer Environment                     jmitterholzer@gundfdn.org

Ann Mullin, Senior Program Officer Education                                     amullin@gundfdn.org

Alesha Washington, Senior Program Officer Economic Development and Community Revitalization                                                     

While the pandemic naturally commands a great deal of our attention, we must also continue to fulfill other vital obligations, including those of citizenship.  In that regard, the most pressing immediate duty is to complete the census.  I am sure you all know how important it is to get a complete count, especially of populations that traditionally have been undercounted.  Here is a link to useful information from the Census Bureau related to the census and the pandemic:  https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2020/statement-coronavirus.html.  And here is a link to the Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition with information on how you and your organization can help:  https://www.ohiocensus.org/.  Please do everything you can to urge everyone in your circle – employees, clients, family and friends, associates – to get out the count.  And if you have not yet voted, don’t forget to vote in the Ohio primary election – whenever it is!

Please take care of yourselves and others as we all weather this crisis.  Stay healthy.


David Abbott