Q. Amid such far-reaching need, how is The Duke Endowment approaching its response to the coronavirus pandemic?
A. For many people, especially in historically marginalized communities, the virus has compounded the challenges they face daily. COVID-19 is taking a tragic toll: In the Carolinas alone, across all groups, officials in mid-May reported more than 26,000 identified cases and more than 1,000 deaths. The ripple effect is also devastating. With unemployment soaring, people can’t afford to pay rent. With children home from school, parents are struggling to put food on the table. As we try to cope, more of us are reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety.
As a leading funder in North Carolina and South Carolina, the Endowment’s focus is finding the best way to help communities here. During the early months of the pandemic, we want to support statewide efforts, and we’ve been working with our grantees and other funders to identify opportunities. We’ll continue to monitor statistics to pinpoint highest need and greatest potential for impact. We’ll continue to look for ways to keep current systemic inequities from growing worse.
The Endowment’s Board of Trustees approved $2.5 million in COVID-19 relief soon after the crisis began to impact North Carolina and South Carolina. Where did that funding go?
It focused on providing support at the statewide level for Carolinians experiencing the pandemic’s immediate effects. In North Carolina, $1.25 million is being dispersed through the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation, the charitable nonprofit affiliate of the North Carolina Healthcare Association. In South Carolina, $1.25 million is being dispersed through One SC Fund, a fund created at Central Carolina Community Foundation in 2015 to respond to natural disasters.