Supporting the "heartbeat of our communities": Tips for year-end giving from SVCF philanthropy advisors

As we wrap up a tumultuous 2020, a year colored by a global pandemic, cries for racial justice, and a presidential election unlike any other, SVCF invites you to reflect: what are you grateful for? A roof over your head? Food for your family? Some of these basic necessities are out of reach for our neighbors. COVID-19, California wildfires and other events from this year have simply exacerbated existing inequities—people of color, immigrants and low-income communities have been hit the hardest.

Last year, members of SVCF’s donor engagement team shared five simple charitable giving tips to maximize your grantmaking impact. In light of the events of 2020, we asked our philanthropy advisors to share their perspectives on why giving is especially important this holiday season.

1. Support organizations led by people of color. Less than 10 percent of philanthropic funding goes to Black-led organizations. Limited philanthropic support means these organizations lack resources to respond effectively to crises. The evidence is in front of us: COVID-19 and instances of police violence have disproportionately affected Black communities.

Joyce Song, a director on SVCF’s donor engagement team, provides this context: “Systemic racism means that communities of color are prevented from realizing the rights and opportunities that others have the privilege to experience. This year, and beyond, I would think about supporting leaders of color and movement-building organizations as they advocate for solutions that respond to their lived experiences.”

SVCF’s Black-Led Organizations Giving Guide is a great place to begin. We are keen to provide you – our partners – with a list of BLOs that will help you learn more about these San Mateo County and Santa Clara County organizations and ultimately support them and their leaders so that they can have a greater impact on the communities they serve.

2. Attend virtual fundraising events. Nonprofits often solicit sponsorships and generate revenue through hosting events. As a result of pandemic-related social distancing guidance, nonprofits have had to cancel events and fundraising activities, or find a way to host them virtually. From SVCF’s senior vice president of donor engagement, Kimberly Myers Hewlett:

“I think it is urgent for our community to support the nonprofits we care about this season, as many of their traditional ways of fundraising, such as events, have been cancelled. More importantly, the pandemic that led to the cancellations makes the work of our local nonprofits that much more critical!”

Check out the websites of your favorite nonprofits to see if they are offering any online opportunities for engagement this season. If you’re an SVCF fundholder, you can also refer to our donor portal to RSVP for upcoming events.

3. Give to general operating support. In addition to responding to increased community needs brought about by the pandemic, organizations have also needed to adapt their operations to comply with social distancing guidelines and other government regulations. For example, Healthier Kids Foundation created several new programs to support the needs of families with newborns in Santa Clara County. And Sonrisas Dental Health, a San Mateo County nonprofit that offers high-quality dental care and oral health education to low-income populations, was forced to invest tens of thousands of dollars to meet new mandated safety protocols.

Your gifts toward general operations enable nonprofits to continue this kind of critical work. SVCF director of donor engagement Rachel Ash also notes:

"At this time when one in four nonprofits are not sure they can survive another 12 months, the heartbeat of our communities is at risk. This moment requires collective action and generosity - each of us can play a part."

GivingIf you are in search of trusted organizations to support in Silicon Valley, SVCF invites you to refer to one of our giving guides. SVCF staff hand-picked these organizations. They serve an incredibly diverse set of communities and are continually finding new ways to increase their impact. We at SVCF have invested in many of these organizations for years, and we hope you will too.

As we make our way to the new year, filled with hope for the future, we hope you will consider those in our community who have been hit the hardest by the turbulent events of 2020. SVCF’s quests to ensure racial equity and reduce systemic disparities continue. We urge you to join with us – and we look forward to supporting your philanthropic endeavors throughout the holidays and in the years to come!