Click Here to Give to the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

A coalition of Northeast Ohio philanthropic, corporate and civic partners have joined together to create the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to deploy resources to nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of the pandemic in our region.

updated March 27, 2020, 1 P.m. EST

About the Rapid Response Fund

The Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. The Rapid Response Fund will provide grant awards on a rolling basis to nonprofit organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties.

Support of $5.73 million for the Rapid Response Fund has been made possible by individual contributions and major gifts from:

  • The Abington Foundation
  • Bank of America
  • The Bruening Foundation
  • Chip and Karen Chaikin
  • The City of Cleveland
  • Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse organization
  • Cleveland Foundation
  • Cleveland Indians Charities
  • Community West Foundation
  • Cuyahoga County
  • Deaconess Foundation
  • Dominion Energy
  • The George Gund Foundation
  • Giant Eagle Foundation
  • The Gries Family Foundation
  • Haslam 3 Foundation
  • Karry & Jonathan Hatch
  • HealthComp Foundation
  • Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation
  • KeyBank Foundation
  • Lincoln Electric
  • The McHale Family Foundation
  • Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation
  • The Reinberger Foundation
  • RPM International Inc.
  • Saint Luke’s Foundation
  • The Sherwin-Williams Company
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
  • TEGNA Foundation
  • Third Federal Foundation 
  • The Thomas H. White Foundation, a Key Trust
  • Three Arches Foundation
  • Union Home Mortgage Foundation
  • United Way of Greater Cleveland
  • Woodruff Foundation

Grantee Partners

week 1 grants Awarded on March 27, 2020:
  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank ($300,000): To support the dramatically increasing needs of individuals impacted by food insecurity including children, families, seniors and individuals with health challenges. This funding will help to subsidize emergency food resources as well as programming and supplies that will be needed in the coming weeks and months. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio, having served more than 350,000 people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties in 2019.
  • MedWish International ($70,000): To collect and provide access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other in-demand medical supplies for local health care institutions. MedWish will identify the most needed items and pull those from its inventory to make them available as quickly as possible upon request. This includes ventilators, PPE and respiratory supplies. This grant will also help MedWish coordinate local donation drop-off locations throughout the community to collect excess items individuals may have in their homes that are in high demand by local health care facilities (such as gloves, masks and hand sanitizer).
  • Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) ($70,000): To provide emergency lodging that will allow unsheltered individuals to remain quarantined before the pandemic reaches its peak. By placing these individuals in emergency lodging, they will have the opportunity to avoid risks associated with sleeping outside and can practice more effective social distancing. Further, NEOCH will be able to centralize outreach and coordinate efforts more effectively since it will be easier to get food and supplies to the people it serves.
  • Senior Transportation Connection (STC) ($60,000): To continue to provide essential medical and food access services to older adults in the community. In many cases, STC serves as a last-resort service for older adults with mobility needs and limited social supports. More than half of those served by STC are 75 years and older, while nearly 60% are low income – two demographic groups identified as particularly vulnerable populations during this crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the funding priorities of the Rapid Response Fund?

The Rapid Response Fund will begin by deploying resources to address the urgent health, basic human services and economic needs of disproportionately impacted communities and individuals. Initially, grant funding will support nonprofit organizations that provide community safety nets and have strong experience working with the immediate needs of populations made vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Rapid Response Fund will support nonprofit organizations that serve:

  • People over 60 years of age, people with compromised immune systems, those who are pregnant and others with increased health risks associated with the novel coronavirus
  • Low-income residents
  • Homeless people
  • Residents without health insurance and/or access to paid time off work
  • People with limited English language proficiency
  • Healthcare, service workers and part-time workers
  • People of color
  • People with disabilities
  • Incarcerated and returning individuals
  • Other populations emerging with needs as the crisis unfolds

The Rapid Response Fund will support organizations that are able to deploy resources quickly to meet emergent community needs. Funding partners will also advocate for scaling public sector action that promotes robust and timely public sector financial investment and needed regulatory, administrative and/or program adaptations to address this crisis, including issues surrounding evictions and utility shut-offs, unemployment benefits and lapses in health insurance coverage for children and those supported by Medicaid.

How can my organization apply?

The partners plan to continue to make grants once a week through June, with the potential to extend grant opportunities as needed and as additional funding resources become available through new partners joining the effort. Frontline nonprofits that have pressing needs related to the COVID-19 crisis response should email to receive more information about the streamlined funding process. The funding collaborative will continue to identify potential grantee partners, solicit guidance on proposed projects from community advisors and recommend final awards. Organizations that have already submitted funding requests will remain in consideration for future grant distributions until further notice.

Based upon the charitable structure of the Rapid Response Fund, grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations and other public entities. The partners are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) organizations.

For now, the fund is designed to be fully distributed in 2020

What will be prioritized in early funding, and what will NOT be included?

As fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, funds will be released on a rolling basis, making it possible to deploy resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs. In the beginning, the fund is prioritizing nonprofit organizations that are serving individuals who are suffering immediately and disproportionately from this crisis. At this time, the Rapid Response Fund is not able to prioritize larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services.

I am an individual who has been affected by COVID-19. Can this fund help me?

We understand many people have already been affected by COVID-19, and more will continue to be affected. Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund partners are deploying resources to nonprofit organizations that directly support residents who are at the highest risk for emerging health, economic and social impacts of the pandemic. The Rapid Response Fund will not provide grants to individuals.

If you are looking for resources now, please consider calling the United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 Help Center. Visit or dial 2-1-1 for support and more information.

Event cancellations have impacted our organization’s revenue. Are we eligible to apply?

In the beginning, the Rapid Response Fund will not be able to prioritize organizations that have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs. The partners recognize these challenges, and as the crisis and long-term impacts continue to unfold, the collaborative will continue to assess and evolve funding strategies.

Who can contribute? 

The partners encourage individual donors, companies, additional funders and other organizations to contribute to the Rapid Response Fund. Online gifts via credit card will have the most immediate impact. Donations of any amount are welcomed, and all contributions are eligible for a charitable deduction. If you are a Cleveland Foundation fund holder and would like to recommend a grant from your fund, please log in to the donor portal or contact your donor relations advisor for instructions.

I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a specific grantee?

To ensure the Rapid Response Fund moves resources as efficiently as possible and responds to needs of communities most impacted, we are not considering donations restricted to specific agencies or causes at this time.

Is this the only community response fund?

The Rapid Response Fund was not created to be the only vehicle for getting needed resources into the community, but to deploy coordinated resources strategically and effectively. Pooling dollars allows for a unique opportunity for leverage that a single donation cannot alone provide.

This is a critical time for so many, including the nonprofit organizations that may have benefited from community giving in the past, as well as those that have had to cancel their annual fundraising events or depend heavily on public gatherings. Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community.   

Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to be in contact with any foundation with which they already have a relationship. Many of the foundations that have given to the Rapid Response Fund are also conducting their regular grantmaking processes.

How will the Rapid Response Fund shift gears if needed?

The Rapid Response Fund priorities may evolve as our region adapts to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to prioritize communities most impacted, recognizing deep and historic inequities that are likely to be magnified in times of crisis. Crisis philanthropy is centered on meeting immediate needs with an eye toward long-term recovery and community resilience.

What other types of response work are being emphasized? 

The Rapid Response Fund also seeks to award grants that:

  • Lift up approaches tailored to specific cultural, historic and language needs of disproportionally impacted populations.
  • Support demonstration projects from which others can learn. 
  • Enhance projects funded with public dollars and/or projects that are complementary to other recovery efforts. 
  • Help establish a structure whereby grantees can collaborate, thereby leveraging new resources and maximizing impact (e.g. environmental organizations, public policy groups, arts and cultural nonprofits, community engagement organizations and media outlets working collaboratively to address the pandemic).
  • Support and encourage collaboration among grantees, public health entities, emergency management personnel, first-responders and long-term recovery group members. 

Please contact for questions about the grantmaking process.

Latest Press Releases

March 27, 2020

Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund awards $500,000 in initial round of grantmaking

March 23, 2020

Community rallies to raise more than $5.37 million to date for Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

March 18, 2020

Philanthropic partners announce creation of Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund