A message to our nonprofit partners: Adapting our grantmaking during difficult times

To help respond to urgent community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation will prioritize support for the most vulnerable in our communities and provide maximum flexibility for grantees.

Dear friends,

New Hampshire’s nonprofits are responding to the unfolding pandemic and public health crisis with resilience, strength and a deep commitment to the people they serve. We have been in touch with many of our nonprofit colleagues over the past weeks, and are humbled by your unwavering commitment to your missions and to the people of New Hampshire in the face of unknowns, increased needs, financial uncertainty and complexities that none of us could have imagined. We hope that you are taking good care of yourselves, even as you work to respond to these pressing organizational and community challenges. We are committed to adapting our grantmaking to support your efforts.

We’ll start by making grants of at least $3 million over the next few weeks in the areas outlined below. And we are working with Foundation donors and others to generate additional resources for key community efforts through the special Community Crisis Action Fund.

The Foundation will provide maximum flexibility for grantees, prioritize support for the most vulnerable, and mobilize new resources as described below:

1. Flexibility for existing grantees: For 2020, the Foundation is waiving all grant reporting deadlines for current grantees, as well as offering a blanket approval of any extensions of time needed to complete work already funded. Additionally, no grant change requests are needed if you have to cancel events or make adjustments to activities or budget line items within planned projects or programs. We are also willing to convert project grants to unrestricted grants to afford you maximum flexibility, wherever we have the leeway based on funding sources to do so. Please contact a senior program officer if you wish to make major changes to the target population a grant would serve, or to convert a project grant to an unrestricted grant. If you don’t know who your senior program officer is, please contact Wendy Cahill at Wendy.Cahill@nhcf.org or Gale Dean at Gale.Dean@nhcf.org and they will direct you. Please view our additional guidance on these flexibility measures.

2. Immediate unrestricted grants:

  • Immediate unrestricted grants to reduce pain and hardship for the most vulnerable will be initiated by Foundation staff to select nonprofits providing critical services to the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income and other vulnerable populations. No applications will be required for these grants. These grants will start to go out in the next one to two weeks.
  • In 2020, the Foundation’s Express Grants program will be dedicated exclusively to meeting urgent needs related to the COVID-19 crisis. Grants of up to $5,000 will be available through open application beginning April 1st. The application process has been streamlined, and we will prioritize nonprofits assisting the most vulnerable. Express Grants will be unrestricted to respond to needs such as communication technology, increased service demand, lost revenue, supplies, and so on. Click here to learn more and apply.
  • Early release of 2020 unrestricted operating support grants: Some nonprofits have been awarded multiyear grants through the Community Grants, Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund and other grant programs. Recognizing the profound effect on cash flow and staffing this crisis is having, the Foundation will offer to release at least $2 million in early payments to multiyear grantees. These grantees will receive further information from us shortly via email.

3. Strategic grants to address pandemic impacts: The Foundation plans to make targeted grants to help reduce the strain on the social service and community health systems as needs emerge and resources allow, including from our Substance Use Disorders Portfolio. These grants will be by invitation only at this time. We will consult nonprofit and public and private partners to determine the highest-impact opportunities, and to ensure that we are aligning our funding with other available private and public resources. We will actively seek to generate additional donor gifts to amplify our capacity to respond in this way over time.

4. Partnership and collaboration: The Foundation is honored to be part of the New Hampshire funder community and is inspired by the many efforts underway as funders across the state help our communities respond to this crisis. The Foundation is contributing to local funds and we encourage those able to do so to both contribute directly to nonprofits as well as to support various crisis response options, including those listed here. And the Foundation will seek opportunities to partner with state and community leaders and bring our relationships and networks to bear to complement and leverage their efforts.

If you have questions or want to share information with us about community or organizational needs or developments, please reach out to your senior program officer, or contact Wendy Cahill at Wendy.Cahill@nhcf.org or Gale Dean at Gale.Dean@nhcf.org.

Every one of us, in every community across the state, depends on the nonprofit sector — for help when times are really hard, and for quality of life and strength of community always. We are committed to doing all we can to help New Hampshire’s nonprofits get through this very challenging time and back to a better one, so they can continue to make New Hampshire better for everyone who calls New Hampshire home.

Thank you for what you do,

Katie Merrow
Vice President of Community Impact