Charitable Giving During the COVID-19 Crisis: Maximize Your Impact

Charitable giving is a powerful accelerator, delivering purposeful resources immediately to people and communities who need it most.

As individuals, companies, and government agencies around the globe try to grapple with the outbreak of COVID-19, community foundations across the United States have created relief funds to mobilize funds to support those affected by the virus. To date, approximately $375 million have been mobilized  across the U.S. to reach the populations with the greatest need.

Below are a few ideas how you can make your COVID-19 relief giving most meaningful:

  1. Donate to the COVID-19 Response Funds at the St. Louis Community Foundation:
    – The COVID-19 Regional Response Fund: Provides assistance to nonprofits in the bistate area serving vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, the elderly, and children. Already, more than 30 nonprofits have received grants totaling $970,000. Click here to view the list of nonprofits receiving grants.– The Gateway Resilience Fund: Provides short term financial assistance to employees and owners of bars, restaurants, shops, other small businesses, and local artists. To date, $640,000 has been given to more than 840 individuals and 20 businesses. Another component of this effort, funded by the Regional Arts Commission, provides grants of $500 to $1000 for local artists whose creative practices and incomes are affected by the pandemic.
  2. The CARES Act Makes Up To $300 Tax Deductible if you currently do not itemize:
    Taxpayers are able to donate up to $300 to a qualifying charity and take a tax deduction – even if you do not itemize. The contribution must be made in cash to a public charity, and not to a supporting organization or donor advised fund. The Cares Act also removes the 60% AGI deduction limitation for cash gifts. For more information, visit here.
  3. Give to your favorite nonprofits you would normally support & support nonprofits on Give STL Day:
    Canceled galas, fundraisers and performance seasons are cutting into nonprofit operating revenues. Consider giving to some of your favorite organizations by participating in Give STL Day. Just visit and consider giving, while also donating to organizations serving immediate needs created by the crisis – from food delivery to senior services — all could use a little help during these unprecedented events.
  4. Donate from your donor advised fund:
    Consider allocating a certain portion of your charitable dollars in your donor advised fund (DAF) for immediate relief efforts, as well as for recovery efforts. A DAF allows a donor to be flexible in their grantmaking during times of crisis. A 2019 study found that donors who manage DAFs tend to be more generous with their grant making during recessions when compared with other forms of giving.
  5. Provide Unrestricted Funding:
    Grantees are most in tune with what their clients and communities need. Allowing them to determine where to allocate their dollars in a time of need reinforces your support. If you have made a grant to support a specific program, consider removing those restrictions and allowing the nonprofit to use those funds for general operating support.
  6. Host a Virtual Fundraising Event:
    Mobilize your own connections and host a virtual fundraising event. Share information about the event and the cause it benefits on your social media pages. Planter’s House hosted a virtual cocktail class and Kaldi’s Coffee created the “Gratitude Blend.” Proceeds from both went to the Gateway Resilience Fund.
  7. Give nationally or internationally:
    The coronavirus is impacting our local communities as well as internationally. The American Red Cross is always a good option, and donations can be earmarked for support locally, nationally, or internationally. If you are interested in supporting relief efforts internationally, donations to the World Health Organization are eligible for U.S. charitable tax deductions. Direct Relief is another organization doing great COVID-19 work internationally.

St. Louis Community Foundation staff is available to help you and your donors navigate grantmaking during this time. Contact the donor relations or giving strategies team with any questions at