As the nation responds to the unprecedented novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), I wanted to let you know the steps The Wallace Foundation is taking. Our first priority is the health and safety of our staff, grantees, partners, their families and our communities. We instituted a work-at-home policy for our staff on March 11 in response to a request from New York City’s mayor. This will remain in effect as long as we think warranted, following the advice and directives of city, state and federal authorities.
I want to assure you that we remain committed to carrying on our work to the fullest extent possible, even as we learn new ways to do it. At the same time, we recognize the burden the pandemic has placed on our partners, and we are taking a series of steps in response.
Being flexible on grant requirements. We understand that the current situation, because it is extraordinary, will mean that some of our partners will not be able to meet certain deliverable dates and/or grant requirements. Our stance is to be flexible, as needed, in the timing and nature of those requirements. If you need more time to do the work our grant funds – or it no longer makes sense to do it – we will work with you to figure out what makes sense going forward.
Shifting to virtual convenings. In order to reduce the risk of exposure, we have either postponed planned gatherings or converted them to virtual gatherings, when possible. Last week, for example, we had a successful online gathering involving 90 school districts.
Postponing site visits. We have postponed site visits both involving Wallace staff and those of our research partners.
Sharing relevant information from our partners. We are using our social media channels to share information that we think could be relevant to the field, for example, lists of resources. Please feel free to share them with us.
Considering changing the timing of payments. We are open to conversations about releasing carryover amounts or surpluses to be spent or accelerating the timing of grant payments currently scheduled for 2020 and potentially beyond if that would be helpful for cash flow purposes.
We know many of you have already heard directly from your Wallace contact. We urge you to raise any questions or concerns with your contacts as we seek to be helpful in this rapidly-changing crisis.
This is a time when we must all stand together for our common benefit. On behalf of the foundation, I want to convey my thanks for all you are doing in this unprecedented situation to support those whom you serve.