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15 North Texas Foundations Launch a Shared Portal to Fund Local Nonprofits During COVID-19

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As we’ve seen so far with the response to COVID-19, North Texans work fast. A group of 15 prominent local funders has quickly collaborated to create North Texas Cares, a new initiative that will provide support for local nonprofits working with those most negatively affected by the global pandemic.

The intent of North Texas Cares is to help ease the burden nonprofits have undertaken in the most efficient way possible. The funders believe that in doing so, it will mitigate the short- and long-term impact of the pandemic on the DFW community.

The number of large local organizations that stepped up to join the effort is remarkable, according to Dave Scullin, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, and new partners continue to join daily. He said it’s all a testament to the region’s history of social innovation and coming together to support one another.

As of the launch date, March 23, the organizers include: The Catholic Foundation, Celanese Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, The Hoblitzelle Foundation, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, The Meadows Foundation, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, North Texas Community Foundation, The Mike & Mary Terry Foundation, Toyota Motors North America, United Way of Denton County, United Way of Grayson County, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, United Way of Tarrant County, and United Way of West Ellis County.

The North Texas Cares hosts a shared online application, simplifying and streamlining the ability to hand out necessary emergency funds.

The funders use a shared portal to access information submitted by nonprofits—but to apply, an org must be providing critical services related to COVID-19. That way, organizers are able to ensure those hit hardest will receive assistance as quickly as possible, Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, said.

“We’re facing unprecedented challenges in our community as we confront the COVID-19 emergency, and it’s important that we do it together,” she said. “We are committed to addressing the immediate needs of our neighbors and the longer-term impacts this crisis will have on education, income, and health in North Texas.”

The funders believe that good information, trusted relationships, and public and private sector coordination will be critical in the months ahead. As Rose Bradshaw, president and CEO of the North Texas Community Foundation, puts it: “We’ll see this through together.”

How it works

The funders said its model—already being replicated by other community foundations in the country—should allow them to respond quickly to nonprofits in need.

“Our nonprofit partners are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 public health crisis, delivering critical services, while simultaneously caring for the health and safety of their employees and managing their business operations,” said Matthew Randazzo, president and CEO of The Dallas Foundation, in a statement. “Collaborating with other funders across the region to ensure efficient and timely access to philanthropic dollars will guarantee those resources reach the individuals and families most in need without placing an undue burden on the nonprofit organizations providing them.”

Once a funding request is submitted through the single online application (eliminating nonprofits from having to apply to funders directly), participants will review and determine what they may fund. Requests will be evaluated weekly, and if approved, could be answered by more than one funder, multiple, or all collectively.

Decisions are made independently, so timelines may vary. Just like the coronavirus outbreak is changing everyday, so is the community’s needs.

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To be eligible for funding, applicants must be a 501c3 organization providing relief efforts related to the COVID-19 response in North Texas. And requests must focus on first responders and/or support for vulnerable populations, according to the funders.

That includes agencies that support: individuals and families via food or healthcare, lost wages and/or housing costs, services for vulnerable populations (seniors, the homeless, etc.), and academic and distance learning for low-income and low-access students. A complete list of criteria for eligibility is available online.

Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis. Go here to start your request.

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