As a response to the outbreak of Covid-19 many foundations all over Europe have responded adequately by alligning there strategy of grantmaking to the problems of their beneficiaries, their grantees. Emergency funds have been created by foundations to be used for problems that these grantees experience. And these problems do not necessarily relate to the mission normally supported by foundations. All of a sudden a foundation that supports the promotion of entrepreneurship in India, finds itself funding health kits in the same community. And the argument is: our work of supporting entrepreneurship only makes sense in a context that is not beaten down by a pandemic. I see foundations that lift bureaucratic instruments of reporting in terms of the length of reports, that have to be submitted by their grantees; I see foundations that provide no-cost extensions to existing projects in order to give grantees more leeway for implementation. Project related funding is sometimes swapped for institutional funding and this is crucial for NGO’s to survive. If foundations at this moment would only fund projects and not the organisation behind the project, foundations could possibly refer to that fantastic project they helped to initiate in their annual report, but the implementing NGO would be broke.
Covid-19 has thus led to more flexible forms of grantmaking and to an awareness of the importance of providing institutional funding next to project funding. My hope is, that when we all go back, after this crisis, to a new normal, that this normal will still contain these elements. In Chinese the character describing disaster is the same character for opportunity. Hopefully foundations will, moving forward, reflect on their strategy of grantmaking.