Creative Solutions During COVID-19

A Q&A with Edmonton Community Foundation’s CEO, Martin Garber-Conrad

Edmonton’s charitable sector is being hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As challenges continue to arise, Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) is in a unique position to help find creative solutions. We sat down (remotely) with our CEO, Martin Garber-Conrad, to talk about what the Foundation is doing to support the community during this difficult time.

ECF: What is ECF doing to help the community as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds?

MGC: There are a lot of excellent organizations working on the front lines to help people dealing with the effects of COVID-19. ECF has long-standing relationships with dozens of these organizations across multiple sectors. So, we’re set up to play a supporting role to help with two things. The first is to support them in their work to deliver immediate services. However, we also know that the charitable sector will face many long-term challenges as a result of the pandemic. In order to address both issues, we have seeded $500,000 to establish the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF).

ECF: What is the Rapid Response Fund?

MGC: The RRF is a fund we started with our discretionary dollars. Most people will know about the work we do based on the endowment model. We work with hundreds of every-day Edmontonians to open endowments that support charities and causes important to them. The RRF is slightly different in that the Foundation has the discretion to use the money swiftly when needs are identified.

ECF: Who will receive grants from the RRF?

MGC: Typically, our grants are distributed to charities through a juried granting process that begins with an application. However, given the need for expediency, grants from the RRF will be given at the discretion of the Foundation. We are working with an experienced network of charitable partners and other funding agencies. Together we will work to identify needs in the community and find unique solutions to address those needs, including financial support from the RRF.

ECF: Will COVID-19 affect ECF’s regular granting streams and cycles?

MGC: The short answer is, “no.” Charities can still apply for our regular granting streams. The same goes for students who wish to apply to one of our many scholarship and bursary programs. We have adjusted the application deadlines for a few of the student awards to give people a little more time to get their applications in.

ECF: Can people donate to the RRF?

MGC: We are not a fundraising organization. But if you want to help vulnerable people in Edmonton during this crisis, our Rapid Response Fund is getting money to charities who need it most. Your contribution will help charities in Edmonton continue to feed the hungry, care for seniors, support high-need children and keep Edmontonians employed.

Learn more about the RRF