Grant Networking Event Recap

This unique forum allowed grantees to share ideas and make connections. Of course, much of the discussion focused on the impact of the pandemic, which these organizations are still adapting to and managing through. Our grantee leaders shared some of the greatest challenges brough on by COVID-19:

  • Missing face-to-face connection: Clients and grantees missed the connection of face-to-face engagements.
  • Adapting to technology: In addition to needing to learn lots of new technology quickly, grantees found that for some client populations, technology was hard to access (for those without reliable internet access or devices) or created obstacles (such as language barriers), which limited their ability to serve.
  • Staffing: Some organizations needed to downsize; others lost staff and found it hard to replace them.
  • Marginalized communities: Between COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement, grantees had to face the realities of racism and how it affects their staff and the communities they serve.
  • The long term sacrificed for the short term: As the focus shifted to immediate needs like food, it was hard to keep support for strategic, big issues alive.

Happily, some silver linings were shared:

  • Increased collaboration: The challenges presented by COVID led grantees to forge new partnerships and work with new organizations and agencies.
  • Virtual services: Shifting trainings and services to the virtual world allowed grantees to better meet the needs of certain populations, such as elders or those with childcare or transportation obstacles. Looking ahead, many are hoping to continue hybrid models of programming as well as internal operations.
  • An outpouring of volunteers: As the local community’s priorities shifted, grantees found a surge of support (and funding) from those looking to help during these challenging times.

Many attendees expressed interest in these grantee networking events continuing. As we continue to collect feedback from our grantees, we will explore the opportunities for TPC to serve as a connector within our grantee community.