March 20, 2020
To our community:
In these days when we are all feeling uncertain about this unprecedented crisis, we at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland (SOCF) are finding inspiration in the legacy of all of those who came before us, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, and their courage to live lives of compassion, justice and collaboration through every challenge.
We send hope, healing and good health to our local and global communities as we work in solidarity to flatten the curve, support our health care systems and slow the spread of the virus.
Our identity as a faith-based foundation guides how we strive to carry out our work in the community, and we uphold the core elements of Catholic social teaching, including the dignity of the human person; the dignity of work and rights of workers; call to family, community and participation; solidarity; and the preferential option for those who are most vulnerable. In our everyday work, we use “most vulnerable” to define those individuals whose growth and voice are often impeded by systemic barriers of economy, discrimination and injustice. Today, those “most vulnerable” are facing a new barrier as COVID-19 cases increase, businesses close and individuals are told to remain socially distant, and in some cases, completely isolated.
To support our partners, grantees and neighbors at the front lines of this crisis, we are taking several steps to ensure flexible funding within our community. Fortunately, we already have in place several mechanisms that allow us to be responsive to the needs of our community, allowing us to respond to requests that encourage collaboration and basic needs support for those most vulnerable – especially in the areas of homelessness, Catholic sisters and the Central neighborhood.
- First, we are founding partners in the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, alongside sister philanthropic organizations across Northeast Ohio invested in providing emergency relief. This $3.95 million fund will support the capacity of the community to respond to COVID-19-related needs, through funding to nonprofit organizations.
- SOCF grantees with active grant dollars have the option to request unused funds be reallocated for emergency needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Current grantees will receive communication from their SOCF program officer to discuss these needs.
- Grantees with open applications will proceed, with the option to apply for funding for emergency needs related to COVID-19. Grantees with open applications for second quarter 2020 will hear from their SOCF program officer about this opportunity.
- Our standard reporting requirements for grantees will be waived so organizations may instead concentrate on their immediate work and the needs of their employees.
- SOCF’s Good Samaritan grants program for basic needs support will expedite its processes for applications and approval. Applications will open April 1, and further communication will be sent in the coming weeks about application details and criteria.
- We know that we have a smart, creative community of organizations that will find opportunities to collaborate in innovative ways to support those in need. We have made the decision to postpone the application process for The Innovation Mission this year, and we will support innovative ways to respond to the challenges emerging from this crisis. Grants will be distributed on a rolling basis, and application information will be shared in the next few weeks, so keep an eye on your inbox.
We understand that you are concerned about your future needs in addition to your immediate barriers, and we share your concerns. We hope these measures will open additional opportunities for support, and we ask for your patience and your trust as we continue working to develop a helpful response.
As the first public health nurses in Cleveland, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine pioneered compassionate, courageous responses to the basic needs of our community for more than 150 years. We are confident that with their inspiration, we will work together to care for ourselves, our neighbors and those most in need throughout this period of crisis.
Take care and be well,
Susanna H. Krey
President, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland