As the needs grew and new challenges emerged throughout the pandemic, our grantees and partners across the Carolinas continue to nurture children, strengthen health care, educate minds and enrich spiritual life. The Duke Endowment is privileged to support them and the communities they serve.

In the spring of 2020, the Endowment’s Trustees identified several principles to guide our response to the coronavirus’ impact. The principles emphasize meeting highest critical needs, aligning with our core grantmaking strategies and mitigating the further exacerbation of systemic inequities. From April 2020 to June 2021, the Endowment distributed $29 million in COVID-related support approved by the Trustees.

Today, with the pandemic still weighing heavily on people of color and families with low incomes, the Endowment is focusing its resources on communities disproportionately affected by the virus (African Americans, Native Americans/​Indigenous and Latinos).

Pressing Problems, Rapid Response

In March 2020, the Trustees approved $2.5 million in grants to be split between the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation and the One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response. The grants helped statewide efforts focused on access to vital health care and sustaining social supports as unemployment rose. Download the press release.

In May 2020, the Endowment provided a $3.5 million grant to Feeding the Carolinas, a network of 10 food banks serving more than 3,700 charitable agencies in North Carolina and South Carolina. Read more in the news release, and learn about the grant’s impact in this interview with Feeding the Carolinas leader Mike Darrow. Download the press release.

COVID hero, veggies in box

Focused Funding

In the fall of 2020, as the pandemic amplified longstanding inequities affecting communities of color and families with low incomes, the Endowment awarded $3.8 million to bolster services and resources for demographic groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Read more in the press release.

In February 2021, the Trustees approved another $1.5 million grant to the One SC Fund, which is housed at Central Carolina Community Foundation. The gift supports a targeted approach to serving every county in South Carolina, and will address locally identified needs such as food insecurity, education, rent and utility assistance, mental health and vaccine rollouts. Read more in the press release.

In March 2021, Trustees approved $531,487 in funding for three grantees seeking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the communities they serve:

  • An award to Darlington County First Steps will provide physical and mental health support to families with low incomes, as well as food and other care items. Read more in the press release.
  • A grant to El Futuro will broaden the reach of mental health services for the Latino population.
  • ISLA will use its grant to respond to needs exacerbated by the virus among the Spanish-speaking community.

In May 2021, Endowment Trustees approved five grants totaling $1.4 million:

  • Two separate grants to the McLeod Health Foundation will support critical follow-up for COVID-19 patients vulnerable to long-term health effects, and increase vaccine access among minority populations.
  • Robeson County Church and Community Center received funding to help alleviate food insecurity.
  • An award to the SC Cancer Alliance will strengthen partnerships with minority organizations to enhance COVID-19 education and encourage reluctant individuals to pursue vaccination.
  • The Conservation Fund will use its grant to help Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-led and BIPOC-serving organizations provide COVID-19 relief in North Carolina.

In June 2021, the Board approved a $200,000 grant to support an Interfaith Youth Core program that will help local colleges and faith communities work together as trusted messengers to share vaccination information within minority communities. Read more about it here.

As this situation evolves, so will our approach to supporting dedicated partners so attuned to their communities. We will continue to work with them to overcome obstacles and reimagine our future together.

Promo for Report from the Center Racial Equity on COVID Grantmaking

Download the Report

In this 2021 report, Creative Research Solutions evaluates the Endowment’s effort to center racial equity in its grantmaking response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More Information

The Winston-Salem Journal published an opinion essay on June 13, 2020, signed by Dr. Laura Gerald, president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and Rhett Mabry, president of The Duke Endowment. It highlighted the need for long-term systemic change as it relates to COVID-19 and also acknowledged the broader problem of racial inequality as highlighted by the summer 2020 protests. Read more here.

In this Q & A, read more about our grant to Feeding the Carolinas.

Podcast Series: Helping Rural Communities During the Pandemic

Our Rural Church Program Area teamed with the Rural Matters podcast on a three-part series looking at the Endowment’s work helping rural congregations and communities. (Look for the 2021 episodes from July 21st, July 29th and August 11th).

One SC Fund

The One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response is a partnership between SC Grantmakers Network, Together SC and the United Way Association of SC. The funds are held at Central Carolina Community Foundation. Learn more.

Fill the Gap Response Fund

The North Carolina Healthcare Foundation has created the COVID-19 Fill the Gap Response Fund to partner with private philanthropy, corporate partners and major gift donors to meet critical needs of organizations across North Carolina. Learn more.

Funding Flow in the Carolinas

An analysis of the first four pieces of federal COVID-19 legislation shows that as of June 15, 2020, at least $15.1 billion will flow to North Carolina and $7.2 billion to South Carolina. In addition, $80 million in private funding is to be injected into local communities.

Covid 19 grantmaking Tableau chart

Click to view an interactive chart detailing the public and private funding for North Carolina and South Carolina.

Committed to the Community

See how grantees and partners across our four program areas and Special Initiatives are responding to the crisis. 

COVID-19 Grants

For a full list of our 2020 grants, see the 2020 Annual Report Grantmaking Addendum. Some of these grants represent multi-year commitments.

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