Donor-Advised Funds Provide Critical Capital During COVID-19 Crisis

Donor-Advised Funds Provide Critical Capital During COVID-19 Crisis
Donor-advised funds have become critical assets throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

When asked why she and her husband Michael have donated so much to local nonprofits and COVID relief efforts, Dede Alpert, former State Senator for San Diego County and fundholder at The San Diego Foundation, shared, “As soon as we heard The San Diego Foundation was creating the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, we decided to donate.

“In the middle of this pandemic, the needs of our community have been so overwhelming and immediate that joining together with the entire San Diego community has been the best way to help.”

Dede Alpert
Dede Alpert

Dede is one of hundreds of donors at The San Diego Foundation who have answered the call to lift up our most vulnerable communities during the coronavirus crisis.

Over the past four months, philanthropists at The San Diego Foundation and more than 575 other community foundations across the nation have utilized their donor-advised funds to contribute more than $1 billion to COVID-19 relief efforts.

In San Diego, total giving from donor-advised funds during the COVID-19 crisis was 75% more compared to the same period last year.

Historically, community foundations and donor-advised fund holders have stepped up to support their communities during difficult economic times. This year that giving is unprecedented in its size and scope. As San Diegans and families around the world face financial insecurity like never before, donor-advised funds have become vital resources to address local needs.

“What we give and how we assist with basic human needs is a reflection of our community’s values,” stated Mark Stuart, President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “We’re focused on investing in the potential of every San Diegan, from strengthening our education system to help our children secure their futures to solving ongoing challenges for those who are struggling with unemployment and lack of food.”

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit and The San Diego Foundation partnered with local leaders and organizations to establish the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, the philanthropic response was immediate.

Interfaith Community Services
A $100,000 COVID-19 Community Response Fund grant to Interfaith Community Services helped provide emergency food packages, shelter, medical services and other critical assistance for San Diegans in need.

Multiple donors went so far as to direct The Foundation to grant the entire value of their donor-advised funds to local relief efforts. More than 3,300 donations ranging from $10 to $2.5 million have helped the community amid the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.

Thanks to their commitment to trust-based philanthropy, their strong relationships with community-based organizations and their ability to grant significant resources out to nonprofits quickly and nimbly, San Diego’s community foundations and donor-advised funds have become critical assets throughout the crisis.

“San Diegans are widely known as some of the most generous individuals in the nation,” shared Mel Katz, fundholder and board member with The San Diego Foundation. “Donor-advised funds provide them with the opportunity to direct where the dollars go, to give more, give quickly and give where it matters most.”

To date, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund has granted $24.6 million to more than 150 San Diego nonprofits. While the needs continue to grow, that level of generosity combined with millions more granted directly from individual donor-advised funds underscores why today San Diego is still recognized as one of California’s most generous regions.

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