Foundation staff, the pandemic and mental well-being

Sevda Kilicalp

Ensuring the mental health of staff post-Covid will require a permanent culture change for foundations

By now, we all know that most foundations have become more flexible and responsive in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. What has been less discussed is how the crisis has compelled foundations to re-evaluate and reshape their internal practices. Philea Knowledge Hub surveys and Operations Professional Network (OPN) peer-learning exchanges focusing on philanthropy’s response to the pandemic demonstrate that supporting the well-being and mental health of foundation staff has become a natural extension of efforts to build resilience across the sector. This redoubled focus on staff mental health not only helps them fulfil their responsibility as employers but also better achieve their missions by ensuring employees are able to engage in high-quality interactions with grantees, something only possible when staff are emotionally and physically healthy.

Before going into detail about the best practices in this area, it is important to take a moment to acknowledge the extraordinary conditions that affect foundation staff and to understand their impact.

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