As of this week, Australia has spent one month under the government-mandated shutdown implemented progressively since 20 March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charities and nonprofits are facing sudden spikes in demand for assistance at a time when giving is stretched and access to volunteers is curtailed by physical distancing measures. The government assistance packages, while welcome and generous, do not cover everyone or everything.
In one case study, an ACP member demonstrated that two weeks is the minimum for a DGR2 Community Foundation to make a grant to a local charity through the currently required workaround. The same grant could be disbursed within two hours if the Foundation had DGR1 endorsement. That’s a large gap to bridge for people in our communities waiting for essential help with bills, rent, food, clothes and a host of other needs.
For community philanthropy, any crisis requiring a timely response – whether bushfires or pandemic – brings into sharp focus how rapid, agile responses on the ground are held back by the existing regulatory framework.
ACP appreciates the ongoing advocacy of Philanthropy Australia and the Charities Crisis Cabinet (see story below) for targeted regulatory reform to support philanthropy and charities in their essential work responding to this crisis. We have provided input on the urgent need for DGR reform for Community Foundations. We await developments with interest and will share any news as it comes to hand.