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Ways to Give During the COVID-19 Crisis

Not sure how to donate to COVID-19 support efforts? The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation has options.

Like community foundations across the country, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation has been closely monitoring the pandemic as it unfolds, adjusting and finding the best ways to serve you — our donors — and the community during these uncertain times.

We know COVID-19 has many of you wondering how to best make a difference. Below we have answered some of the most frequent questions that we are fielding lately.

Where are you seeing the greatest need?

Short term

Basic Needs – Now is the time to ensure that safety net services are strong and widely available. These services include — but are not limited to — emergency food support, housing and shelter services and mental health care.

Health & Safety – Nonprofits are facing increased costs for cleaning supplies and protective equipment as they strive to ensure healthy and safe environments for staff and clients. Some are working to ensure that essential service workers, first responders and caregivers have access to personal protective equipment to safely do their jobs.

Long term

In the long term, nonprofits supporting individuals re-entering the workforce, stabilizing families with housing and providing quality childcare will continue to be essential. In addition, it will be vital to support organizations that do lobbying and advocacy on behalf of the communities they serve, to ensure the voices of these communities are represented in government recovery and rebuilding efforts.

It is also important to support institutions and organizations that serve as cultural connectors in our communities — arts or museums for example — that might not provide direct services.

During the pandemic, is it more important to support immediate needs or longer-term recovery efforts?

Both are necessary to ensure that we get through this pandemic. While none of us can anticipate the pandemic’s outcomes or how our communities will be affected, the investments we make now can help us recover and rebuild a stronger community in the future.

Which nonprofits are doing something specific to respond to COVID-19? Which would you recommend?

Nonprofits of all kinds are in need of support during this time.

Organizations have responded with innovative and inventive ways to serve our communities, by creating or supporting emerging initiatives, re-imagining services and offering virtual programming. We are inspired to see this community-led ingenuity, and we have compiled a list of some of the nonprofits we fund that are responding to the pandemic with resilience and creativity.

How can I use my donor advised fund (DAF) to support individuals and small businesses who need help or who are helping with COVID-19 relief efforts?

You can use your DAF to support the organizations you care about, or you can donate to one of the two funds the Foundation has helped establish as a result of COVID-19: The Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund for coronavirus and the Saint Paul Bridge Fund.

You can also donate to the Community Sharing Fund, the Foundation’s emergency grant fund that has supported individuals and families across the East Metro for 40 years. In addition, local community foundations (including our affiliates) across the state have seen an influx in grant requests due to the coronavirus and are coming up with ways to address the needs of individuals and businesses in their communities.

Contact your philanthropic advisor or call 651.224.5463 for more information about supporting any of these efforts.

What are the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund (MDRF) and the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, and how can I give to them?

The Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund for coronavirus was established by the Minnesota Council on Foundations and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation to help provide short- and long-term support to communities affected by the coronavirus. You can contribute to this fund through a DAF or with a credit card through

We have also partnered with the City of Saint Paul to set up the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, which provides emergency relief to small businesses and families in need of support during these uncertain times. You can also contribute to this fund through a DAF.

Below we explore the difference between the two funds and giving directly to nonprofits.

Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund

What your contribution supports:

Provides support for both long- and short-term needs in communities throughout Minnesota as a result of the coronavirus

How those funds will be used:

Funds are directed to local intermediaries who then distribute to nonprofits, small businesses and individuals as needed in their community

The Saint Paul Bridge Fund

What your contribution supports:

Provides emergency relief to families with children and small businesses impacted by the pandemic in Saint Paul

How those funds will be used:

Will provide low-income families with a $1,000 grant for rent or mortgage payments

Provides small businesses with $7,500 for immediate business expenses

Directly to Nonprofits

What your contribution supports:

Supports the needs of organizations that you have given to in the past and/or that have an immediate need you’d like to contribute to

How those funds will be used:

Nonprofits have a vast array of needs, ranging from adapting work to address the coronavirus, to providing continuous support to their communities during the crisis

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