Helping During COVID-19, Together
At the time of this article, there are more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. While this figure illustrates how a deadly virus can expose the shortcomings of a globalized world—our interconnected food chains, shared industry, and ease of cross-border travel—our response as a global community has been nothing short of monumental.
Brave health care workers, essential services, and dedicated charitable organizations, among others, have been propelled into the spotlight of worldwide support and deserving appreciation. Fighting alongside these tireless front-line workers is a global community of researchers working in unprecedented unison. Their willingness to explore new ways to share research and publish results is showcasing just how effective we can be when we work collaboratively.
For example, it took more than a year to sequence the genome of the SARS virus after it broke out in 2002. But thanks to the innovation and teamwork of the global network of researchers, the COVID-19 genome was sequenced in under a month from the first case being identified.
As the world comes together to battle the novel coronavirus, there are things you can do from home that will help the effort to control and defeat this pandemic. Here’s how donors, financial advisors, and charitable organizations can work together during COVID-19.
Follow public health guidelines
We’re all in this together, and the more we can do to protect ourselves and our neighbours will significantly affect the outcome of this historic period. This means washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, cleaning surfaces regularly, and coughing into your elbow to prevent spreading germs.
It also means following public health guidelines regarding physical distancing and staying at home whenever possible. After all, it’s not just for your own protection, it’s also to support people working in our healthcare services and other vital industries who aren’t able to stay indoors or work from home.
Leverage available philanthropy
Breakthrough research takes global cooperation and funding. This is where donors and their financial advisors can shine. Donors who have already established a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) have the flexibility to review their giving intentions and discuss future planning with their trusted advisor.
Donors may wish to direct grants to a cause or charitable organization that they have previously supported to align with new or emerging needs relating to the pandemic. Or, this may be the perfect opportunity to branch out, to support an area of pressing need in the community or internationally. Donors should work with their advisor to determine where and when grants from an existing DAF get distributed or understand what is needed to establish a new fund.
Discover new opportunities for philanthropy
Contributing philanthropically not only advances research, but it also propels technologies that can save lives. As donors and their finical advisors work together to determine where to direct a gift there are a few options to consider.
New lists continue to be published itemizing COVID-19 related granting opportunities. The Government of Canada recently released a list of funded projects in response to the pandemic, which has reached 99 so far. Lists such as these are a great place to start to see how and where funding is being allocated. Donors should work with their advisors to ensure the cause they wish to support is recognized as a charitable organization by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).
Another consideration when discussing where to direct granting dollars is to consider the industries that have aided the fight against COVID-19. For example, the exponential growth of connectivity and access to information which has enabled health officials to quickly track the spread of the disease, giving vulnerable populations vital information.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another technology that has proven effective in advancing public health. AI is currently being used to scan more than 100,000 online articles in 65 different languages daily for the purpose of public health information. This approach has been effective in sending alerts to communities about the coronavirus even before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) alerted the public.
Health apps with chatbots are also using artificial intelligence to screen people who are feverish and coughing and advise them whether they should be evaluated for infection with the coronavirus.
Although these technologies are not charitable causes themselves, Universities and institutions across Canada and around the world are exploring the possibilities of these and other technologies, to determine how they can aid the fight against infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Access available expertise
If there is one thing we can learn from researchers today, it is the power of collaboration and access to knowledge. As donors work with their financial advisors to plan their philanthropy, it can be advantageous to reach out to a reputable charitable organization, such as Gift Funds Canada. Their team of experienced and knowledgeable people is dedicated to providing essential services to donors and the charities they support through expertise, processing grants and assisting those who are helping the many grant recipients.
It is predicted that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be available only after the disease is on the decline, however, that decline is dependant on our collective efforts. So, while we wait for the global community of researchers to produce a vaccine, we can work together to do our part by following the latest health guidelines and collaborating as donors, financial advisors, and citizens of the world.