COVID-19 Grants to Nonprofits

Through an analysis of over 50,000 grantmaking organizations, we've found approximately 1,500 grantmaking organizations have established COVID-19 relief funds
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Coronavirus-related grantmaking has increased within the nonprofit sector, but how many nonprofits have established COVID-19 relief funds, and what are the trends with them? Through an analysis of over 50,000 grantmaking organizations in partnership with Community Brands, we've found approximately 1,500 grantmaking organizations have established COVID-19 relief funds to help fellow nonprofits and community members. The vast majority of them are foundations, with community foundations leading the pack.

Most emergency Coronavirus funds are either place-based or group-focused. With place-based funds, oftentimes multiple organizations within a city or state will band together to create unified funds helping the community as a whole, including individuals and nonprofits. For example, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore established its COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund as a joint effort with community partners. With group-focused funds, many nonprofits that already work with specific populations have extended Coronavirus-related grants to them. For example, the Elton John AIDS Foundation established its COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help people infected with HIV/AIDS handle additional hardship brought on by COVID-19.

Trends among nonprofits with COVID-19 relief funds

Grantmaking nonprofits that have established Coronavirus relief funds tend to be medium-sized, with most earning between $800k and $8M in annual revenues, and holding between $2.1M to $39M in assets. These organizations typically provide individual grants ranging from $10k to $60k (according to Schedule I of the Form 990), although we don't know if this holds for COVID-19 grants as well. Geography-wise, 90% of the grantmakers primarily focus at the city or state level. This is reflected in community foundations being the most common type of nonprofit present.

Sizes of nonprofits that provide COVID-19 funds

Revenue of nonprofits with COVID-19 fundsNumber of nonprofits
$1M to $2.5M
$2.5M to $5M
$5M to $10M
$10M to $25M

List of nonprofits providing COVID-19 relief funds

Steps for pursuing emergency nonprofit-focused COVID-19 grants

These grants exist, so now what? If you work for a nonprofit or other community-focused organization and are seeking assistance, our partners over at Community Brands, a leading provider of cloud-based fundraising and fund accounting software, have established best practices for nonprofits seeking emergency grant funding. These include:

  1. Assessing your organization
  2. Assessing your financial position
  3. Identifying your needs
  4. Finding a grant match
  5. Continuing your search
  6. Rebuilding and restoring

Check out their article for all the details.


Cause IQ digitizes and cleans electronic and paper / scanned Form 990s for over 400,000 IRS-registered tax-exempt organizations. For this analysis, we researched grantmaking organizations (defined by Form 990 grant expenditures to other nonprofits) to find which ones had specific phrases appearing on their websites, such as "COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund" or "Coronavirus grants". We then analyzed trends in these resulting organizations.

Article originally published on July 7, 2020.

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