When 2020 began, we at Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy were ready to take on some ambitious goals. We wrapped up our strategic direction setting, which included plans for a closer partnership with the NonProfit Alliance, work on equity, boosting impact investing activity, encouraging members to provide more unrestricted support to nonprofits and organizations led by people of color, and more intentional work on advocacy.
Even though COVID changed the way in which we thought we’d pursue those goals, it also magnified their importance and pushed us to achieve more than we had ever expected. Some examples:
- GPP members contributed millions to COVID relief and nonprofit support, including through the United Way of Greenville County’s COVID Relief Fund and directly to nonprofits. Funders such as the Community Foundation of Greenville gave funds specifically to organizations led by people of color.
- GPP members invested hundreds of thousands with CommunityWorks Carolina for their COVID loan programs.
- We, along with NPA, helped dozens of organizations apply for Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL funding to support their business continuity with webinars and technical support from great partners such as CommunityWorks Carolina.
- In partnership with NPA, the Jolley Foundation, LiveWell Greenville, and Public Education Partners, we provided training on advocacy and on community power building.
- We then put those skills to work as we led advocacy by funders and nonprofits related to Greenville County’s Coronavirus Relief Funds, resulting in a positive relationship with the County and $38 million going to community needs. Our new County Council members met us as well through the County Council candidate forum we held before the election.
- This summer, we quickly launched the 21 Day Equity Challenge and subsequent RDEI coaching for nonprofits and funding with NPA and Sharp Brain Consulting.
- With the support of a grant from United Way of Greenville County, NPA and GPP offered strategy and financial coaching to adapt to COVID-19.
- And just in terms of sheer activity, we held 28 meetings for members (instead of our usual six per year), some with just funders and some in partnership with NPA, to connect, share information, strategize, and act together.
At the beginning of the year, we shortened our mission statement to simply maximizing the impact of philanthropy. I believe we can take pride in the many ways we did that – increasing charitable dollars, bringing new investment dollars to the table, tapping in to government funds in unprecedented ways, and strengthening the overall capacity of the nonprofit sector to put those dollars to work for fulfillment of their own missions.
But so many challenges remain, and new ones are added. I thank the partners and funders of Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy for their involvement and support to help us overcome them for the good of our community.