Monterey County Community Foundation grants $ 27.9 million in 2020 – Monterey Herald
MONTEREY – After months characterized by tough economic times, the thought of paying it forward can seem like a daunting task. But in Monterey County, generosity has not wavered in the face of the pandemic.
The Community Foundation for Monterey County awarded $ 27.9 million to nonprofits on the peninsula in 2020, a record number for the organization.
The amount awarded by the CFPC in 2020 marked a 45% increase from the $ 19.2 million it awarded to nonprofits in 2019.
“I should stop being surprised,” said Dan Baldwin, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We were really amazed because everyone was touched last year, even our donor community. We didn’t know what their ability to respond would be, but it was just amazing. (The donations) confirmed how philanthropic Monterey County is. “
Since the foundation began providing grants in 1981, it has awarded more than $ 252 million to local organizations. When 2020 arrived, however, Baldwin wasn’t sure the trends of years past would continue once COVID-19 hit.
“If you had asked me on March 15, 2020 how the year would go, I wouldn’t have been so optimistic,” he said.
It turns out that Baldwin had nothing to worry about. Regular donors and first-time benefactors have enabled the foundation to award 2,542 grants, including emergency funds intended for COVID-19 aid.
To deal specifically with the hardships caused by the pandemic, the foundation established the COVID-19 Relief Fund in March 2020. A year later, more than $ 3.4 million was awarded to local nonprofits. because they support those most affected by the pandemic.
The severity and immediacy of the need brought on by COVID-19 prompted the Community Foundation to make all donations made to its relief fund readily available as soon as possible. This meant that he had no gifts in reserve but rather gave money as it was received.
“We wanted to meet needs as they arose on a daily basis,” Baldwin said.
As the funds were pooled in the relief fund, the time between grant application and grant award averaged about two weeks.
The donations were almost as immediate as the grants themselves. This was in part due to the donor advisers, who had already established funds with the Community Foundation. Donations made by donor advisors may be directed to certain organizations and causes. But when emergency relief became more critical than privileged allocations, donor advisers shifted their funds.
“The existing charitable capital has really made a difference,” said Baldwin. “(The donor advisers) were very responsive. They took advantage of this and transferred funds to COVID relief. “
Donations have also gone to the Monterey County Fire Relief Fund, Fund for Monterey County, Census 2020 Fund, Monterey County Gives! and hundreds of scholarships, among other nonprofits in the region.
“It was nice to see that all of our general grant and scholarship funds worked as well,” Baldwin said. “The beauty of this year is that people really stepped in and did something more to help each other out, (but) it hasn’t hindered what we do on a regular basis.”
The commitment of community members to each other was also evident in the wide range of donations received by the Community Foundation, explained Baldwin. For him, not only the volume but also the variety of donations collected by the foundation testified to Monterey County’s commitment to giving back.
“We have seen contributions of $ 100,000, but also $ 25,” he said. “We celebrate the gifts. For some people, giving $ 25 is as big a donation as they can be. There were thousands of gifts of all sizes, and you just know that people from all walks of life really felt like they needed to contribute.