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In Times of Uncertainty, Texas Philanthropy Unites

April 2, 2020

We’ve seen it time and time again. After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, philanthropy rallied together to fund relief efforts across impacted communities. In 2019, the Communities Foundation of Texas set up the Texas Counts Pooled Fund when Texans faced uncertainty on how our state would manage an accurate census count. Most notably for TEGAC, in 2011 after the state cut $5.4 billion from the public education budget, Texas philanthropy rallied together to form the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) in order to protect, promote and improve public education in Texas.

Today, amidst the uncertainty and devastation that COVID-19 is unleashing across the world, we are seeing Texas philanthropy once again unite to amplify support efforts in communities across Texas. In a matter of days, TEGAC members were already developing ways to collaborate, such as forming emergency pooled funds to support individuals and communities, targeting grant dollars for rapid response, and providing flexibility to grantees around grant deliverables and timelines.

 

Below you will find a brief list of TEGAC members’ COVID-19 efforts to date. We will continue to add to this list as we learn about new initiatives.

All Together ATX - Housed at Austin Community Foundation in partnership with United Way for Greater Austin, these TEGAC members have created All Together ATX, a fund designed to address all aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak as effectively and efficiently as possible, complementing the work of public health officials and expanding local capacity.

COVID-19 Response Fund - Housed at the San Antonio Area Foundation, San Antonio Area Foundation, United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County and other partners launched a relief fund on March 20 to offer assistance to vulnerable populations in San Antonio and surrounding areas.

Family Emergency Fund - TEGAC member, the Andy Roddick Foundation, has set up a relief fund that will support students and families with the greatest need in the Austin area community.

Get Shift Done - Get Shift Done for North Texas was launched to address both affected service workers who have lost their paychecks and immediate support for the demand of the non-profits, especially with respect to hunger relief.

Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund - United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation are standing together to help support those in the Greater Houston area who have been impacted by COVID-19 and those who may be impacted by unforeseen economic conditions.  In addition to their $1 million lead gift, TEGAC member, the Houston Endowment, will donate an additional dollar for every $4 contributed to the Fund, up to a total match gift of $1 million.

Holloway Family Foundation Rapid Response Application- TEGAC member, The Holloway Family Foundation, has launched a Rapid Response Application in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Texas Cares – Housed at the Communities Foundation of Texas, twenty-eight foundations and United Ways (as of 4/20/2020) have joined efforts to provide support using one common grant application for agencies that work with people and communities most affected by COVID-19 in Dallas and Fort Worth regional communities. TEGAC members participating in this joint fund include United Ways for Metropolitan Dallas, The Dallas Foundation, North Texas Community Foundation, Sid Richardson Foundation, Rainwater Foundation, Mike & Merry Terry Foundation and  Meadows Foundation. 

Just as we are seeing our TEGAC members come together around the COVID-19 response, we are also seeing innovative and flexible solutions created by TEGAC grantees and partners.

A long-time TEGAC partner in the early childhood space, Texans Care for Children has been on the front line of advocating on behalf of childcare workers and families, ensuring that emergency workers’ children are cared for and that the childcare sector is not devastated by COVID-19. Several of our early childhood advocacy partners, including Stephanie Rubin from Texans Care, Mandi Kimball from Children at Risk and Libby McCabe from the Commit Partnership, have been appointed by the Governor to a new stakeholder task force for the Frontline Child Care Project that is tasked with oversight of this statewide effort.

Another trusted TEGAC partner, Teach Plus Texas, has shared a number of resources that Teach Plus to help their fellow teachers adjust to digital learning.

Other who are adjusting to digital learning are parents. We are seeing more appreciation for teachers than ever before as parents across the country have taken up teaching their children. TEGAC member, Raise Your Hand Texas, is helping amplify this appreciation for teachers and other school staff by featuring uplifiting stories of teachers serving kids in heroic ways. Read their new series – Rising to the Challenge – and use #TxEdRising on social media to continue to appreciate our Texas teachers.

Our partners in higher education, state agencies and all across organizations serving Texas students have stepped up to unite together around students, families and community. In these uncertain times, one fact remains: when times are tough, Texans are tougher.

Please see a list of resources below.

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Share with us what other grantmakers are doing across Texas to lift up communities. Submit your response here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9DJ9S2W

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Uplifting and practical resources in response to COVID-19

Uplifting.

#TxEdRising - Do you have an uplifting story to tell about Texas public education responding to COVID-19? We encourage you to submit your story to TEGAC member, Raise Your Hand Texas here: https://www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/newsroom/rising-to-the-challenge/. Use the hashtag #TxEdRising on social media as you spread uplifting messages about the Texas education community’s resilient response to COVID-19.

Save With Stories – In partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams have spearheaded an initiative of stories read aloud by fellow celebrities on Instagram and Facebook to provide fun and education to kids and parents stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak. https://www.instagram.com/savewithstories/

Good News Movement – TEGAC staff came across the Good News Movement while on social media. As negativity and uncertainty surround us, this social media account shares stories from across the world that bring a smile to your face. https://www.facebook.com/goodnewsmove/

 Practical.

Resource for Education Foundations - TEGAC Member, Texas Education Foundation Network has shared a resource with members of the Foundation Innovation team recorded a virtual panel discussion answering questions submitted by education foundation staff, volunteers and school district personnel from across the country. Hear expert opinions and guidance on topics including fundraising, communications, program operations and governance as we tackle the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eOH4m8MZPA&feature=youtu.be 

2-1-1 – Our United Ways members have been instrumental in ensuring that 2-1-1 is an available resource across Texas. Anyone can call 2-1-1 and select Option 6 as the main point of contact for all questions related to COVID-19. 2-1-1 Call Specialists can answer questions related to prevention, symptoms, medical information, testing locations, travel concerns, unemployment insurance, emergency food assistance, utility disconnect concerns, city/state orders, and more. 2-1-1 is the community hub of information for all basic needs and COVID-19 questions.

Texans Care for Children has put together an overview of actions taken by the Texas Workforce Commission to support family access to subsidized child care during the COVID-19 crisis. The Texas Workforce Commission, which oversees the state's child care subsidy system. See a summary of recent policy decisions below. https://txchildren.org/posts/2020/4/2/new-tx-child-care-policy-decisions-by-tx-workforce-commission

Tarrant County: FIND! Child Care Locator Tool for Essential Workers.  The first of its kind in the state tool launched on Monday to connect essential child care workers with child care slots that our local partners have identified due to tireless work over the last few weeks (over 7,000 available slots as of this week).  You can read about it here.  Link to the tool is here.

Fort Worth: COVID-19 Local Workforce Connector Platform. The Best Place for Kids!™ / Best Place for Working Parents™ team has developed a platform to serve as a C-suite connecting point for Fort Worth businesses facing significant workforce hiring or reduction needs during this crisis. Partnering with Workforce Solutions, the local Chambers, our Best Place for Working Parents™ business leaders, Hillwood/AllianceTexas leadership, Shiftsmart, and our DFW philanthropy leaders, we seek to expedite inter-industry workforce creativity for business leaders during this time. We hope to leverage all of our local networks to proactively identify and more quickly connect local employers with solutions for their immediate workforce needs. Link to the web platform is here.

First Book – First Book has millions of free books to distribute. As schools, districts, and communities are distributing meals to children, why not add some books? First Book has recruited millions of free books that can be made available to children in poverty across a state, city, or local school district.  THE BOOKS ARE FREE – and shipping/handling costs are only 55 cents per book--even less for large orders.

All that First Books needs is for the donor to identify the number of books needed, an age range and where we can mail them. First Book can get the books out in a week. Or if someone wants to leave the distribution of books to First Book, they have identified feeding sites, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other sites across the states. 

Please contact Kyle Zimmer at kzimmer@firstbook.org to make arrangements. https://firstbook.org/

Resources for virtual learning –

Teach Plus Texas teacher fellows have shared some resources for online learning to help fellow teachers navigate a new method of teaching. https://twitter.com/teachplusTX/status/1241007640118988803?s=20

TNTP shared a list of resources for digital teachers and learners. https://tntp.org/blog/post/resources-for-schools-during-the-covid-19-crisis

Grantmakers for Education(GFE) – GFE has assembled resources that grantmakers may find useful in thinking about responsive philanthropy. This list includes learning opportunities and options to participate in group discussions. https://www.edfunders.org/resources/covid-19-education-philanthropy-resources/covid-19-rapid-response-funds-0 

HCM Strategists - HCM Strategies has launched an education policy series. The first in the series discusses equity concerns as college instruction goes remote. This series will also focus on equity in education.

Philanthropy Southwest(PSW) – PSW has assembled COVID-19 response resources and updates from foundations across the Southwest and nation. https://www.philanthropysouthwest.org/covid-19-updates-resources

Center for Disaster Philanthropy – With a tagline of “The when, where and how of disaster giving,” this resource is available to grantmakers to help shape responses to COVID-19. There’s a list of resources, articles and upcoming webinars useful to funders. https://disasterphilanthropy.org/

Candid. – Foundation Center and Guide Star have come together behind Candid. This resource includes a funding opportunities section, a funding summary, and news items around national and international COVID-19 responsive funding. https://candid.org/explore-issues/coronavirus

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