Longwood Foundation’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting our region and the world with an unprecedented situation that has vast short- and long-term impacts – especially for those most vulnerable. As an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Delaware and southern Chester County, the Longwood Foundation is working proactively to address the growing concerns that this pandemic crisis presents.

As our founder focused on the long term, so do we. We are stable and built for the long-haul. We will be here for our communities now and into the future. We are inspired by the stories from nonprofit organizations in our region jumping in to help – be it by preparing to serve an influx of coronavirus patients; providing food to children and seniors; enabling virtual services such as wellness, education, and enrichment; or cancelling revenue-generating events to enable social distancing. We recognize you’ve taken these actions as part of a collective effort to subdue the spread of the virus and protect our community, despite the uncertainty of how the pandemic will impact your organization. Some of you have also made the difficult decisions to lay off staff, take pay cuts, or cease programming indefinitely. We know there will be many needs and challenges ahead. But we also know that our communities are resilient and will persevere together.

We are with you. Here are the steps we have taken thus far:

  • $1 Million Contribution to Delaware’s COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund – On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Delaware’s philanthropic and nonprofit leaders launched a coordinated response to the crisis. One of the elements of this response is the creation of the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund to target the evolving needs of the state’s most impacted communities (administered by the Delaware Community Foundation and Philanthropy Delaware). The Longwood Foundation has made an initial investment of $1 million in this fund and will consider additional contributions as needs develop. We will be actively participating in this process and have a representative on the decision-making committee. Additional information on how organizations can apply is forthcoming. In the meantime, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA) has created a flash poll to help the philanthropic community assess the most urgent needs for nonprofits. We encourage all nonprofits to take this survey as it will allow us to better respond to your needs. For organizations operating within four miles of Longwood Gardens in Chester County, details on an emergency request process for our Foundation will be shared no later than March 31.
  • Continued Uninterrupted Operations – Effective Monday, March 16, and for the foreseeable future, we have shifted the Foundation’s operations to all-remote work. Our offices in the Community Services Building are closed to visitors. We are still active and working on behalf of our communities and are available to you via videoconference, email, or phone. We are ready to hear from you, but we recognize that you have far more important things to do than to communicate with us. We are grateful for your efforts and commitment. You can find our contact information on our website. While we are not answering our office phones, we are all accessing our voicemail and will respond promptly.
  • Flexibility for Current Grantees – We understand that this crisis is a dramatic disruption to your services, and Longwood’s usual procedures should not further burden you at this time. We have suspended all reporting requirements and outcomes results/deadlines until further notice. The nature of this crisis may also shift how you wish to allocate the funds you’ve already been granted. We will consider this on a case-by-case basis. Please email Maria Stecker, Grants Manager, with any questions.
  • Consideration for Current Applicants – For those that applied for a grant this Spring, we are moving forward with our current grant cycle. However, in the spirit of transparency, the coronavirus crisis has impacted this cycle in ways that have created a “higher bar” for routine grant requests. We will be reaching out to current applicants on Friday, March 20 with additional information.

We are proud to be part of a coordinated community response and our grant to the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund is a first step. Our role at the moment is mostly financial in nature. It pales in comparison to the personal and emotional efforts and sacrifices that our exemplary nonprofit organizations are making.

Thank you for the strength, care, and leadership you’ve already demonstrated. We recognize these are uncertain times. The full impact of this crisis may not be known for many months or years. We are here and committed to getting through this together.

Thère du Pont, President

March 19, 2020

Updates:

March 31, 2020

  • $100,000 Contribution to the United Way of Chester County’s COVID-19 Response Fund – In recognition of the COVID-19 emergency in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the Longwood Foundation has made a $100,000 investment in United Way of Chester County’s COVID-19 Response Fund. This fund has been established through a collaborative effort between United Way of Chester County, United Way of Southern Chester County, Chester County Community Foundation, and other community leaders from local businesses and social service agencies. At this time, this fund is best equipped to identify and help remediate, through local nonprofits, some of the emergency situations that county residents are experiencing, such as utility assistance, food vulnerability, health care, housing assistance and a range of other services. Given the fund’s unique insight into local issues, Longwood Foundation is advising nonprofits within 4 miles of Longwood Gardens to direct their emergency funding requests to United Way of Chester County’s COVID-19 Response Fund until further notice. Applications to the fund can be made through this link. Please check back regularly for any changes to Longwood’s current strategy for Chester County nonprofits.