Despite our headquarters having been closed since 9 March, the Boards and Staff of Fondazione Cariplo are carrying on with their work relentlessly. Extraordinary measures have been taken to provide additional support to the most vulnerable citizens, communities and non-profit organisations that are being dramatically affected by this health crisis.
‘We are facing extraordinary difficult times and, more than ever before, we must join forces for the common good, support the most vulnerable in our communities and exercise responsibly in these crucial days’ notes the President of our Foundation Giovanni Fosti.
With this spirit in mind, Fondazione Cariplo has recently launched a number of initiatives to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our communities and on the non-profit sector:
We have launched a Special Fund committing the first 2 million Euros, for the purpose of aggregating resources that will be used to provide assistance to the most vulnerable people and to support associations and non-profit organisations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Fund’s priority will be to provide support to non-profit organisations currently engaged in assisting the most vulnerable with novel or supplementary services. Secondly, the Fund will be used to mitigate economic damages arising from loss of earning – much of the financial sustainability of numerous non-profits relies on the income arising from the provision of services and production of goods: just to name a few, nurseries, social care providers, B-type social cooperatives, cultural institutions including theatres and museums.
The Fund has also been conceived as a platform open to the participation of other donors and funders in order to facilitate and enhance the aggregation of resources and efforts. A first tranche of 1 million Euros has been immediately released on 11 March and, in nearly one week, it has generated a multiplier effect and the pooling of almost €17 million.
The number of initiatives led by Community Foundations – in the whole Lombardy Region, and in the provinces of Novara and Verbano-Cusio-Ossola – continues to increase and we are also providing financial support to activate or reinforce Emergency Coronavirus Funds set by the Community Foundations based in the Lombardy Region.
Since many years now, they have been acting as anchors of the communities they serve, and thanks both to the proximity and the profound knowledge of the most pressing needs at local level, Community Foundations – together with individual donors, businesses and institutions – have promptly activated solidarity networks and steered fundraising campaigns in order to respond to punctual and most pressing needs.
In this acute initial phase Fondazione Cariplo has decided to allocate € 900,000 to the 16 Community Foundations based in the Lombard territory in order to activate or strengthen the capacity of local funds that are being gradually set up to respond to health and social care emergencies.
The various Emergency Funds set up by Community Foundations with the support of Fondazione Cariplo address a variety of urgent and fundamental needs in territories that have been so far the most severely hit by the coronavirus outbreak. By way of example, resources are being collected:
- to provide services, including health and social care, to the most vulnerable people forced to self-isolation: the elderly, people with mental and physical disabilities or with chronic medical conditions, fragile families, patients dismissed from hospitals
- to purchase medical equipment urgently required by hospitals and healthcare institutions
- to purchase personal protection equipment for those delivering food and medicines at home
- to purchase products and fuel required for sanitising purposes and to ensure hygiene and provide shower services at public dormitories [to support online learning initiatives
We are also acting with stimulus measures to support, among other, the liquidity of grantees. In the last weeks, several non-profits have been responding to the emergency by providing additional services, whilst others are suffering significant economic damage due to implementation of measures required to combat the spread of the virus.
In closing we share a message from Giovanni Fosti, President of Fondazione Cariplo:
‘In these days, marked by the severity of pain and suffering that is being inflicted on so many people’s lives, two important words linger in our minds: responsibility and gratitude. Responsibility of each and every one of us, in the first place, to follow the guidelines and recommendations issued by the authorities. And gratitude to all those who are putting their health at risk in order to serve others.’
Dario Bolis is Director of Communication and Externals Relations of Fondazione Cariplo
Patricia Frias is Head of International Relations of Fondazione Cariplo