Opinion

This is the moment that Dallas’ philanthropic community was made for

Now is not the time to cut back on giving.

In a week’s time, the world turned upside down. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Market volatility dwarfs that of the global financial crisis and the 1987 crash. Our favorite local establishments are closed. And, we are practicing social distancing to protect our families and flatten the curve of new infections. We’re in uncharted territory.

This is the moment for which modern philanthropy was built. Dallas is filled with individuals, corporations and foundations that do good in our community. Dallas often ranks among the most charitable cities in the country and now is our time to show it. The funding community — including individual givers — must come together to meet this unprecedented moment with unprecedented generosity and flexibility.

Let’s not overthink this because basic human needs are on the line; delayed action is tantamount to inaction in times of crisis. Public schools, local governments and nonprofits are increasingly burdened with solving our community’s most intractable problems. Let’s give these partners the critical, yet flexible, resources they need to serve our community and protect the most vulnerable among us.

While there’s no playbook for this situation, there are several things that individuals and organizations can do now.

· Make gifts across the nonprofit sector, not just to blue chip nonprofits. There are many community-based organizations that are doing critical work.

· Individual donors should consider monthly or sustaining gifts to provide organizations with long-range support.

· Take the long view on your endowed assets, despite current market performance. Pulling back on giving could have dire consequences for our community.

· If you are an organizational funder, such as a foundation or corporation, convert existing grants to general operating support to give nonprofit partners the flexibility they need in this moment.

· Mobilize new funding, suspend burdensome application processes, and make new general operating gifts to your most trusted partners.

We can do this, Dallas. Our track record of risk taking, innovation and generosity has prepared us for this moment. Be bold. Be generous. Be flexible.

Matthew Randazzo is chief executive of The Dallas Foundation. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

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Matthew Randazzo

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