Foundation Statement: COVID-19

Dear Community Partners,

The health and safety of our community is our greatest concern as the current and potential impacts of the COVID-19 virus continue to evolve. As a result, we are encouraging all of our partner organizations to consider cancelling in-person gatherings in the coming weeks.

The Jefferson Regional Foundation has cancelled the Around the Table South 2020 initiative originally scheduled to take place—March 18-24th. We encourage hosts to assure guests that we plan to resume this wonderful activity at a future date when we can gather, celebrate together and talk about broader community issues.  We will again coordinate with Leadership Pittsburgh’s Big Table event for that future date. So, hold on to your Table Host kits!

While we are encouraging cancelling in-person events, please continue to share the important messages focused on Census participation as the Census Bureau is currently releasing invitations to households to participate in the Census!  We are so grateful that over 7,500 Census 2020 pledge cards have been distributed through your efforts, and recently the Foundation mailed over 1,200 completed pledge reminders to local households.

We want to advise Foundation grantees that our first and main priority is the health and safety of your staff and of your organization as a whole. We understand that programming and operations are being adjusted to meet your mission and serve those most in need. We are now operating with the assumption that many of our grantees may require grant extensions to complete the activities originally outlined in your grant proposal.  Please feel free to contact us to discuss your plans as your operations and needs change in the coming days and weeks.  We also want to learn about new or emerging demands as you continue to provide essential services. We are always inspired by your creativity and commitment to community and thank you for your tireless efforts during these challenging times.

We are grateful that several Around the Table South events and Census 2020 events have already taken place—and we are happy to receive and gather any completed surveys or results.

We are invested in the health of the community and in your capacity as organizations to be available to serve our residents in the future and over the long-term. We know you are making wise decisions in the short-term to keep your staff, those you serve and the broader community safe by offering remote services as possible and cancelling larger meetings and events. Health experts predict that as testing becomes more widely available, the number of incidences of COVID-19 will increase before the situation can improve. But, improve it will…. and meanwhile, we can all do our best to engage in prevention practices.

The Foundation has posted a recording of a one-hour COVID-19 webinar we hosted on Monday, March 16th on Preparing for COVID-19 in the Jefferson Area (You can view the recording here.)  The webinar was designed to share resources for responding to COVID-19 and offered ideas on policies and procedures for adjusting your business operations.  The webinar included valuable presentations from Dr. Luann Brink of the Allegheny Health Department, Abby Horn of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, and Yvonne Von Haitsma of the Bayer Nonprofit Center of Robert Morris University.

We also want to encourage you to continue to visit the following helpful resource sites:

Please know that we value your enthusiasm, we understand your concerns, and believe this is an opportunity to focus on what is important.  We will gather again in person when the time is right—and meanwhile, please feel free to reach out to us with any particular questions or suggestions. You have always provided us the best guidance and wisdom.  Please know our Board is grateful for your efforts.


Mary Phan-Gruber, CEO
Jefferson Regional Foundation