COVID-19 Response

“As I have seen it, life is but a proving ground where Providence tests the character and mettle of those He places upon the earth. The whole course of mortal existence is a series of problems, sorrows and difficulties. If that existence be rightly conducted, it becomes a progress towards the fulfillment of human destiny. We must pass through darkness to reach the light.” - Excerpt from Michael Benedum’s Will

Over $3 Million in Early Response Grants, nearly $6.5 Million in 2020

During the first three months of the pandemic, Benedum acted as quickly as possible to issue over $3 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. This necessary move was a test of our ability to be agile and responsive to the unanticipated impacts of COVID-19. In doing so, the Benedum Foundation had to make hard decisions within its internal grantmaking priorities and divert grant funding that would have been slated to other very worthy projects and organizations. Continuing our COVID-19 response efforts, Benedum closed out 2020 with having awarded nearly $6.5 million in COVID-19 grants.

The needs differ between Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and therefore, the Benedum Foundation’s response will vary between the two states. We hope to play an important role in partnering, funding, and providing capital that ensures greater equity in economic recovery. The pandemic will alter our grantmaking for the next few years.

The Benedum Foundation approach is always to learn from our grantees. As COVID-19 has impacted public health and shocked the economy, Benedum has acted by making early grants for emergency response and collaborating with our substantial network of community leaders, university partners, and nonprofit organizations to plan for mid-and long-term effects from the pandemic.

In late 2020 and through 2021, Benedum will continue making mid-term grants to support recovery, and long-term grants aimed at transformational systems changes.

Benedum’s Course of Action

  • Deploy an emergency response to address public health concerns and address basic needs.
  • Create and contribute to entirely new recovery funds that pool resources for maximum impact.
  • Partner with national funders to deploy COVID-19 money with an equity focus in rural areas.
  • Support a long-term strategy to advance systems outcomes for all, including an effort to attract much needed federal dollars for public health programs, broadband, and education.

✔Deploy an emergency response to address public health concerns and address basic needs.

✔Create and contribute to entirely new recovery funds that pool resources for maximum impact.

✔Partner with national funders to deploy COVID-19 money with an equity focus in rural areas.

The following is a list of grantees who have received special COVID-19 relief funds as of June 2020.

Following is a list of grantees who have received special COVID-19 relief funds as of January 2021.

Allegheny Conference on Community Development
For the 2020 community and economic development program agenda.

Allegheny County Department of Human Services
To expand a network of community learning hubs to Mon Valley school districts in response to COVID-19 school closings.

Allegheny Intermediate Unit
For a pooled fund that will be used to test educational innovations in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.

Allegheny Intermediate Unit
To help southwestern Pennsylvania schools prepare for the 2020-2021 academic year in the wake of COVID-19.

Bradley Center
To create a regional professional development center for educators of children who have multiple behavioral and mental health needs.

Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh Foundation
To extend a family health survey and database to Washington, Greene, and Fayette Counties to help schools address COVID-19 related family health issues.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
To launch an incubator that will provide technical assistance, peer mentorship, and financial support to small arts organizations affected by COVID-19.

City Theatre Company, Inc.
To develop an outdoor drive-in live theater venue at Hazelwood Green in response to the COVID-19 shutdown of indoor performances.

Delivering Good, Inc.
To distribute brand new clothing, home goods, and other vital necessities to underserved populations throughout West Virginia.

Developmental Therapy Center, Inc.
To support teletherapy and blended outpatient services to children and adolescents with disabilities.

Facing Hunger Foodbank, Inc.
For COVID-19 emergency hunger relief.

Film Pittsburgh
To adopt the 2020 Three Rivers Film Festival, and to provide transition support during COVID-19.

Future Generations University
To create a resilient maple economy in West Virginia through marketing and COVID-19 response coaching to producers, farmers, agricultural businesses, and service providers.

Future of Nursing West Virginia
To develop the West Virginia Nurse Entrepreneur Center to create nurse businesses that increase economic development and improve the health of West Virginians.

Generation West Virginia
For leveraging the statewide network of Generation West Virginia Chapters to expand social and economic impact and to attract and retain the next generation.

Invest Appalachia
To support the launch of Invest Appalachia, an impact investment fund with the initial goal to raise a $5 Million COVID-19 Response and Resilience Fund serving Central Appalachia.

KnowledgeWorks Foundation
To organize a cohort of educational leaders to generate a set of personalized learning practices and policy recommendations in response to the COVID-19 impact on public education.

Marshall University Foundation Incorporated
To help West Virginia schools prepare for the 2020-2021 academic year in the wake of COVID-19.

Marshall University Research Corporation
To expand the agriculture innovation ecosystem in West Virginia by supporting inclusion of manufacturing technology and processes, and business assistance relating to COVID-19 impacts.

Marshall University Research Corporation
To support oral health activities in West Virginia amidst COVID-19.

Mountain Association
To support the Appalachia Funders Network in connecting and convening funders for COVID-19 responses, learning, analysis, and collaboration; increasing investments in the region; and supporting sector-focused groups.

Mountaineer Food Bank, Inc.
To provide emergency food relief due to COVID-19.

National School Boards Association, Inc.
To organize a school board leadership collaborative, in partnership with the Remake Learning Council, to promote innovation, create shared resource partnerships, and advance policies for school reopening in the wake of COVID-19.

Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc.
As matching funds for a U.S. Economic Development Administration CARES Act grant to deploy emergency loans and technical assistance to businesses and nonprofit enterprises impacted by COVID-19.

New River Gorge Regional Development Authority
To support the implementation of a contactless loan application portal.

Partnership of African American Churches
For surge testing in communities of color which will conduct COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and community education and awareness across West Virginia.

Philanthropy West Virginia, Inc.
To increase capacity for community foundations to engage donors and build philanthropic resources to address current and future community needs.

Philanthropy West Virginia, Inc.
For a partnership with the Higher Education Policy Commission to improve the college completion rate of West Virginia’s workforce.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Inc.
To deploy a mobile stage that will enable community performances with partnering arts organizations in response to COVID-19.

Program To Aid Citizen Enterprise
For a pooled fund that assists small arts organizations impacted by COVID-19.

RiffRaff Arts Collective, Inc.
To support the 25 communities in the Create Your State network to adopt creative, artistic, and cultural activities to help citizens deal with stress of COVID-19.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
For the Kanawha Valley Council on Philanthropy to support COVID-19 projects to address health, quality of life, and community economic development on Charleston’s West Side.

The Mon Valley Initiative
To enable Mon Valley Initiative’s Washington County office to assist people affected by COVID-19 to access new sources of federal and state aid, short-term training, and employment.

United Way of Central West Virginia, Inc.
For support to adequately staff West Virginia 211 due to the increased calls and referrals related to COVID-19.

West Virginia Association of Free Clinics, Inc.
To support West Virginia’s Free Clinics to meet increased demands for services created by COVID-19.

West Virginia Association of Free Clinics, Inc.
To review, analyze, and prepare a plan for West Virginia’s free clinics to be prepared to respond to future events from the learned experiences during COVID-19.

West Virginia Community Development Hub, Inc.
To provide coaching and technical assistance to organizations as they submit and administer federal grants through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER program.

West Virginia Community Development Hub, Inc.
For scaling programs and strategies to catalyze the West Virginia community development system to respond to COVID-19.

West Virginia Farmers Market Association – Charleston
For the Farmers Market COVID-19 Response and Recovery Program to provide business advice to food producers impacted by the pandemic and ensure markets are resilient to changes occurring in the direct to consumer marketplace.

West Virginia Health Improvement Institute, Inc.
For the establishment of a team to capture COVID-19 funding to support rural healthcare organizations, primary care providers, and community-based organizations to sustain the healthcare and safety net infrastructure.

West Virginia Local Health Incorporated
To strengthen the West Virginia local health department infrastructure and to bolster the first line of defense against COVID-19.

West Virginia Local Health Incorporated
For the ‘Back on Track’ Program which aims to address the decline in vaccination coverage among children that has occurred during COVID-19.

West Virginia Nonprofit Association
To support development and resilience among West Virginia nonprofits dealing with organizational impacts of COVID-19.

West Virginia Oral Health Coalition, Inc.
To expand the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition’s work in promoting lifelong oral health by shaping policy, promoting prevention, and educating the public.

West Virginia Primary Care Association, Inc.
To assist Community Health Centers, West Virginia’s largest network of safety net providers, in their COVID-19 response.

West Virginia Rural Health Association
For the development of a webpage for COVID-19 information and resources for West Virginians, and to create a statewide Hepatitis academic monitoring program.

West Virginia University Foundation, Inc.
For customized out-of-school services in support of school district COVID-19 response plans for Fall 2020 reopening.

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care
To provide information, leadership, and coordination of healthcare issues of interest to consumers and stakeholder organizations including healthcare providers, payers, education and faith communities, policymakers, and advocates.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
To convert a K-12 architectural studies program to virtual and hybrid delivery methods in the face of COVID-19 school closings.

For a coordinated statewide COVID-19 response of emergency resources to address mass care, shelter, and feeding of vulnerable citizens and families.

The following grants were made possible through a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

American Friends Service Committee
To provide emergency food and basic assistance to children and families in the wake of COVID-19.

Greenbrier County Health Alliance, Inc.
To coordinate a local food meal program to feed low-income families and seniors.

Partnership of African American Churches
To address the economic impact of COVID-19 in low-income and minority communities in West Virginia.

Randolph County Housing Authority
To use housing as a platform for delivery of services to vulnerable seniors and families living in poverty.

Team for West Virginia, Inc.
For mini-grants to community-based organizations to meet food insecurity and basic needs of vulnerable families with children during COVID-19.

West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church
To address food insecurity among seniors during the second phase of COVID-19.

West Virginia Alliance of Recovery Residences
To provide economic relief for recovery residences impacted by COVID-19.

West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, Inc.
To track statewide COVID-19 impact on West Virginia’s safety net including unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and SNAP enrollment.

West Virginia Child Abuse Network, Inc.
To support the efforts of Child Advocacy Centers serving economically disadvantaged counties with meeting the emerging needs of child survivors of abuse.

West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, Inc.
To respond to the issues of homelessness complicated by COVID-19.

West Virginia Council of Churches
To establish foster, adoptive, and kinship care closets to meet the needs of these children and their caregivers during COVID-19.

West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition
To alleviate some effects of COVID-19 on farmers and low-income residents experiencing food insecurity.

West Virginia State University Foundation, Inc.
To assist grandparents and grandchildren with needs identified during the pandemic including technology needs, bill and grocery assistance.

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care
To provide COVID-19 funding for Early Childhood Education Centers to parents returning to work, especially at-risk and low-income families.

WV Alliance for Sustainable Families, Inc.
For support regarding the economic impact of COVID-19 on low-income families across West Virginia, in collaboration with the regional Earned Income Tax Credit coalitions.

To assist vulnerable families experiencing health and/or economic hardship due to COVID-19 through a case management system which identifies unmet needs and connects clients with resources.