Philanthropy and COVID-19

Like people across the country and around the world, the team at Arabella Advisors is committed to fighting COVID-19 and saving lives in the many communities we serve. As we help our clients navigate their philanthropic responses and move more resources to those in need, we have created the following materials to share. If you have any questions or wish to share your own ideas and resources, please contact us at

Responding Now to Build a More Equitable Future: Four Opportunities for Philanthropy

Senior director Loren McArthur looks at opportunities for funders responding to COVID-19 to support advocacy efforts designed to save lives, strengthen communities, and build equity, both in this moment and for the future. He examines ways in which philanthropy can strengthen the nation’s safety net, expand health care and paid time off to more Americans, ensure safe and democratic elections, and fight fear-mongering, scapegoating, and misinformation.

Click here to read the article on our blog.
Prioritizing Equity in COVID-19 Relief Efforts 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, we’ve worked closely with our clients to help them respond quickly to rapidly emerging needs. While the sector, scope, and ultimate goals of these projects have varied, there’s been one common thread: the need to apply an equity lens. We identified four smart practices for funders considering relief efforts. As much of recent work has shown, bringing an equity lens to bear throughout philanthropic work is essential to responding both effectively and quickly to support communities in times of crisis. 

Click here to read the article on our blog. 

Our Future of the Social Sector Series

Over the past year, the world has changed. Every industry has been disrupted, democracy has been challenged in unprecedented ways, centuries of racial injustice have been brought into new focus, and we have all had to learn anew how to connect—from behind screens, through masks, and despite disinformation.  We now have a chance to turn a corner. If we can learn the right lessons, philanthropy has a unique opportunity to redefine itself, strengthen the social sector in which it operates, and help create a better future. With that goal in mind, Arabella Advisors has launched a series of virtual convenings, conversations, and publications focused on the future of the social sector and philanthropy’s role in it. Over the coming weeks and months, we will bring together community leaders, experts, and change makers to explore the future of the social Sector.

Click here to access resources and learn more.

Looking Toward Philanthropy’s New Future

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, many foundations have moved quickly, removing restrictions on existing grants, contributing to (or standing up) emergency response funds, and looking to serve those in need. Even as they do, a rapidly changing reality leads us to ponder four questions: 1. How will we meet an explosion of individual needs, especially for those most vulnerable? 2. How will our nonprofit partners survive? 3. Who will fill the gaps government leaves? And 4. Who will continue to innovate?

We invite you to read, think, and start a conversation with us about how philanthropy can effectively respond to COVID-19.

In Moments Like These, Keep Listening and Learning 

We can’t learn the lessons of this crisis (or any other) unless we take time to listen, both to the data and to the voices of those most impacted. Here our head of evaluation, Julie Slay, reflects on the need to listen and learn even as we respond quickly in the context of COVID-19. 

Click here to read the article on our blog.

Ensuring Equitable Governance of COVID-19 Response Initiatives 

Reflecting on lessons our team has recently learned about embedding equity in governance (available here), Jessyca Dudley and Jessica Robinson Love consider the most current case in point: COVID-19 response. They note that, as we seek to move quickly to respond to COVID-19, we may risk deepening existing inequities if we fail to address underlying power structures and inequities.   

Click here to read the article on our blog. 

Our Guide to Great Direct Giving Options 

In the wake of COVID-19, we have seen multiple requests from philanthropists seeking to use direct giving and unconditional cash transfers to help those most affected. Getting no-strings-attached cash to people may sound straightforward enough. But how do you get money to the roughly 8.4 million US households without a bank account? Our research culminated in the one-page if/then flowcharts found here in English and here in Spanish, designed to help guide our client’s community organizers in discerning the best disbursement option based on each individual recipient’s circumstances. 

 Click here to read the article on our blog.   

How Impact Investors Can Respond to COVID-19

Impact investing can be a powerful tool for philanthropists, and that remains true during the pandemic. Two of Arabella’s impact investing experts, Alexandra LaForge and Cyrus Kharas, offer insights and considerations for those who may not be sure how best to leverage the tools of impact investing in such a crisis.

Click here to read the article on our blog.

Philanthropy Should Support Frontline Workers During Pandemic and Beyond

Published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, this article by Arabella senior managing director Gwen Walden and founder Eric Kessler examines ways in which philanthropy can provide immediate as well as long-term support for frontline heroes working in healthcare, food systems, day care and education, safety net services, and small businesses.

Click here to read the article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.



Supporting CDFIs to Build a More Equitable Post-COVID Economy 

In the wake of the current pandemic, philanthropy has an extraordinary opportunity to help steer the nation toward a more equitable economic future (see “An Economy for All”). Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) can play a crucial part in this essential work, but they need philanthropy’s help. 

Click here to read the article on our blog. 

Speeding Relief to Small Business Restaurateurs 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all sectors of the food economy, upending supply chains and turning grocery store employees into our front line of defense. The independent restaurant sector and its millions of employees have also been critically affected. In response to the coronavirus, and with support from the team at Arabella Advisors and our partners at New Venture Fund, the James Beard Foundation stepped forward to provide swift economic support to the people at the heart of the industry through the JBF Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. 

Click here to read the article on our blog. 

Good Food Companies Response to COVID-19 

Arabella Advisors manages an impact investing club called Good Food Ventures, which focuses on connecting investors interested in building Good Food systems with early-stage companies that are doing exactly that. We’ve been thrilled to see many of these companies stepping up to contribute to relief efforts, leveraging their resources and expertise to support those in need, ease pressure on our food supply chain, provide consumers with essential goods and services, and more. Many innovations are born out of crises, and we look forward to further exploring the entrepreneurial solutions that will help address COVID-19 and related food systems challenges.  

Click here to read the article on our blog. 

Responding to COVID-19: The Kataly Foundation’s Approach 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced foundations and philanthropists across the country to reexamine existing processes to better support grantees and the communities they serve. With support from the Arabella team, the Kataly Foundation is working toward recovery and resilience through a trust-based, equity-focused approach that other funders may find instructive.  

Click here to read the article on our blog. 



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