The Rockefeller Foundation will commit another $30 million to COVID-19-related programs around the world, including $15 million for a national action plan to expand testing and more safely reopen the U.S. economy, its president said in his annual letter for 2020.
The new $30 million in funding brings to $50 million Rockefeller’s commitment to COVID-19 relief. The New York City-based foundation announced $20 million last month toward the pandemic response.
“At moments like this, philanthropies like the Rockefeller Foundation can use their resources and their reach to bring people together to solve difficult problems,” Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, said in a seven-minute video accompanying “COVID-19: Meeting This Moment,” the annual letter. “You have to move from panic and posturing to a data-driven, evidence-based response.”
The letter also outlines four areas where the foundation will focus to address COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic:
- Working with cities and states to use science and data to protect people;
- Boosting rapid expansion of testing to help re-start the U.S. economy in a safer way and serve as a model for others worldwide;
- Building public-private coalitions that can procure and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) in a sustained and active way; and,
- Creating an early warning and response system to address the potential re-emergency of COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics.
“While this virus may be a natural phenomenon, the crisis it both reveals and exacerbates is manmade,” Shah wrote. “This moment must be a wake-up call and a turning point in the way we prevent and address calamities like this in the future,” he added.
“The unfolding of this pandemic underscores just how much public sector leadership matters,” Shah wrote. He pointed to The CARES Act stimulus package recently passed by Congress. The $2.2-trillion legislation is roughly 500 times the size of the foundation’s endowment. “No foundation, no matter how large, can supplant the role of government,” he wrote. “It also underscores the role that we believe philanthropy can play in addressing global challenges,” Shah wrote.
The Rockefeller Foundation made $163.5 million in contributions, gifts and grants paid, according to its 592-page Form 990-PF for 2018. It reported $4.5 billion in assets for that year, the most recent tax form available.
To read the letter in its entirety, visit https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/2020-annual-letter/