Philanthropy Ohio’s response to COVID-19

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Every day we are learning more about precautionary measures to keep our communities safe. You’re probably receiving numerous emails, social media messages and news alerts about the COVID-19 outbreak and I want you to know the health and safety of our Philanthropy Ohio members and employees is our top priority and we are here for our members and communities. Amid what’s happening in our communities, I want to share the specific steps we’re taking to keep our staff, members and local communities healthy.

In compliance with Governor DeWine’s directive to cancel all large group gatherings in Ohio, all Philanthropy Ohio programs taking place before April 3, 2020, will be either transformed into virtual convenings or rescheduled to ensure the health and safety of our program attendees. If you registered for a program taking place this month, you will receive more detailed information before the event date. We will determine the trajectory of our April programs in accordance with the latest updates from public health agencies.

Beginning March 16, the Philanthropy Ohio team will begin telecommuting until we determine it is appropriate to return to our offices. In addition, Philanthropy Ohio is flexing our personal time-off and sick leave policies during this time to allow team members to take care of themselves and their loved ones. The Philanthropy Ohio staff will remain available to support you and can still be reached via email and our direct phone numbers which will be automatically routed to our cell phones. Please see our staff webpage for contact information.

During this remote work period, we are also instituting a “no travel” policy for our staff although we will continue to participate in meetings via phone and video conferencing whenever possible. If you had an in-person meeting scheduled with anyone on our staff between now and April 3, we will reach out to you to either set up a conference call or reschedule for a later date.

We made these decisions to not only keep our members and staff safe, but also to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus to vulnerable populations and to reduce the burden on our health care system, which is expected to increase in the days and weeks ahead.

Philanthropy’s role

In the face of increasing numbers of outbreaks of COVID-19 across the country, philanthropy has an important role to play in supporting community preparedness and response. We will host the first of a series of calls on Wednesday, March 18 at 3 p.m. with local and state experts to share ways that funders can identify the unmet needs in their communities and discuss best practices in preparedness and response. The purpose of the calls is to help funders think about their own internal continuity of operations as well as that of their grantee partners and the well-being of the broader community. We know that needs may evolve as a result of an outbreak and its path and will do our best to engage and inform philanthropy across the state.

In addition, we are compiling philanthropic preparedness and response resources on our Coronavirus – COVID-19 – Resources for Philanthropy webpage, which we will update daily, including summaries of Governor DeWine’s press conferences and orders.

We are also gathering information on how philanthropy is addressing the crisis, so please send such information to

We will also be launching a weekly member email beginning next week with tips for working remotely, staying connected, ways to take advantage of online professional development and more.

While the future of COVID-19 remains unknown, Philanthropy Ohio will remain proactive in our efforts to prevent the spread of this virus and to keep our members informed. We thank you for your understanding and patience during the coming days and weeks. We are all in this together.

Deborah Aubert Thomas
President & CEO, Philanthropy Ohio


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