Collaborations In The Time Of COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe and affect nearly every corner of society, collaboration is needed more than ever. This crisis has emphasized the importance of coming together and being flexible, responsive and ready to activate at any moment. The CDC Foundation’s President and CEO Dr. Judy Monroe recently participated in a conversation about collaborative philanthropy at the local, national and global levels organized by the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

In this webinar, moderated by Gabrielle Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of Panorama, Dr. Monroe is joined by Elizabeth Cousens, president and CEO of the UN Foundation, and Tony Mestres, president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation. They each discuss how they are navigating collaborations to efficiently and effectively serve those hardest hit by the pandemic.

During each emergency response, the CDC Foundation works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify gaps and needs. Because of the incredible need during this pandemic, the CDC Foundation is also working closely with state health departments to expand our reach. “This is an all-hands on deck approach,” Dr. Monroe notes in the webinar.

To bring together resources quickly, the CDC Foundation created a crowdfunding campaign since there would be so much need on every level and in every state. This campaign allowed the CDC Foundation to meet urgent needs like personal protective equipment and other medical supplies almost immediately after the pandemic hit as well as prepare to support ongoing needs as the country reopens.

The private sector is also joining with us to help in the response—Dr. Monroe notes in the discussion that the pandemic is helping everyone understand the importance of public health to the wellbeing of us all.

The collaborations with the private sector have been invaluable because these resources can be deployed faster than government funding. This is an important aspect of collaborative philanthropy, being able to raise money rapidly and getting the funds to those with the greatest need as quickly as possible. Because of so many generous donors, the CDC Foundation has also been able to take part in research, convene partners for digital solutions, meet emerging needs and much more.

The panelists agreed that today represents a moment in time where collaborations are critical—aligning resources to better serve those hardest hit by the pandemic and discovering new ways of working together.

In Dr. Monroe’s closing remarks, she noted that government, philanthropy and the private sector have all come together during this pandemic to make meaningful change worldwide. “We need to seize the collaboration that can come from working together…to make a meaningful change across the globe, particularly with health equity,” she said.

You can watch the Collaborative Philanthropy in the Time of COVID-19 webinar in its entirety to learn more about this critical work at the local, national and global levels.

Caitlin Smyke Esptein, MPA, is a senior advancement officer for the CDC Foundation.