April 9, 2020-Michelle Decker, Community Foundation

Tuesday, April 9, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting via ZOOM


Present:   Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Rachelle Bussell, Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Mark Kaenel, PT McEwen, John Mirau, Bansree Parikh, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Pete Van Helden, and Ray Wolfe.

M/S/P: Minutes from April 7, 2020.

Carole Beswick, CEO presiding.


Michelle Decker, President/CEO of the Community Foundation discussed the effects of the pandemic on the non-profit sector.


As in many sectors there are, and will be, changes to the way foundations operate.  She referenced that this unprecedented time is like “building the plane while flying it”.  They realize that, for example, virtually all foundations were issuing checks to distribute funds and were not prepared to use ACH.  Adapting to technology must happen quickly.


This is a busy time of year with a high volume of fund distributions for scholarships, Listos California grants and final census checks.


COVID-19 is straining local nonprofits of all sizes and missions, with the loss of revenue from canceled fundraisers, to having to adapt to new technology and find ways to care for vulnerable communities while keeping staff safe.


The nonprofits in the Inland Empire are a crucial part of the fabric of our communities. Currently many are making sure people are sheltered and fed.  Long term, they hope to retain youth-serving groups, immigrant serving organizations, arts venues and more. Ms Decker stated that this is really an “all-hands-on-deck” moment to care for our nonprofits, who do so much for us.


In response, the Foundation has created a fund to support and address these challenges during the spread of the coronavirus in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The IE COVID-19 Resilience Fund, established this year, will support programs assisting Inland residents affected by the coronavirus pandemic and outbreaks of COVID-19, and the nonprofit organizations of the Inland Empire.  In addition to others, they have already received generous donations from So. California Gas and So. Cal Edison.


To better understand the issues and needs of area nonprofit groups, the foundation has partnered with the Center for Social Innovation at UC Riverside to poll nonprofit leaders about their current service area, the needs of the population they serve and the economic impact on the organization’s operations and sustainability.


This information will be used as requests for funding, grantmaking and technical assistance needs in the weeks and months ahead. The foundation and UCR also developed a website, https://iecovidresponse.org/, which lists resources and information, and are producing a weekly webinar to share information among nonprofits. Another site, https://ienonprofits.com/, is a product of the Inland Empire Capacity Builder’s Network and also provides resources.


The main driver of small business stimulus in the CARES Act is contained in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The $349 billion funded under the Small Business Administration (SBA)—Business Loans Program Account is intended to provide loans to businesses to guarantee eight weeks of payroll and other costs to help those businesses remain viable and allow their workers to pay their bills.  Non-profits are encouraged to apply if eligible.


Groups are working together more than ever to respond.  The reality is that not every organization will survive this crisis, but the federal stimulus (CARES Act) has provided some tools.  The Community Foundation will focus on helping organizations craft two-, four- and six-month survival plans so we can get through this with most of our nonprofit and community-based organizations intact.


The 2020 census affects funding for our region in all sectors of our county for the next ten years.  An accurate count is critical.  Census workers and local nonprofits are scrambling to use phone banks, texting and online tools to encourage participation.  The “digital divide” is increasingly obvious with many low income and rural residents without efficient access.  Due to the pandemic the census deadline has been extended from July to August.


The Community Foundation is working with local nonprofit organizations, national organizations and philanthropists to examine the challenges and respond as strategically as possible.


A Q & A period followed.

Meeting adjourned at 8:55 a.m.