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Blackbaud Community Matters Grants Make Virtual Pivot Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

  • by Jessica Watkins
  • Apr 10, 2020, 06:40 PM
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Blackbaud’s commitment to building a better world is central to everything we do including the way we give back as a company and how we teach our employees about the importance of philanthropy. In the late 1990s, Blackbaud launched an initiative, now called Blackbaud Community Matters Grants Program, to help fund nonprofit organizations that have a strong emphasis on serving disadvantaged populations.

In addition to awarding nonprofits funding for new or ongoing community programs, the Blackbaud Community Matters Grants Program also encourages our employees to get involved by serving on the employee committee. Through this experience, employees learn firsthand about the important daily operations of the nonprofits we work with every day. Committee member responsibilities include reading applications, attending site visits and assisting with funding decisions. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces many organizations and businesses to close their doors for safety, it also brings a standstill to the typical in-person site visits required as a part of our decision process. As Blackbaud is helping customers across industries and around the world make the transition to life online, we also are pivoting our grant application process, switching to virtual site visits. We are now having these important conversations with our applicants from a distance and avoiding a delay in the funding approval process. 

“Site visits give us an invaluable peek into the daily workings of the organizations, their people and the important services they provide to the community! You learn so much from the ‘face to face’ interactions that may not come across on a standard grant application.” Melissa Britton, Philanthropy and Volunteer Engagement Manager, Blackbaud.

Although the effects of COVID-19 continue to press down on the economy, worldwide, Blackbaud remains committed to making timely adjustments for partners and customers in meaningful ways. This year, Blackbaud will lift the spending restrictions and permit nonprofits to redirect the use of their grant funds to more practical needs, such as general operational costs. Although the funds are normally allocated for specific projects and programs, Blackbaud is hoping the amended spending measures will help relieve some the pressures nonprofits are facing during these challenging times. 

The History of Blackbaud Community Matters Grants

The Blackbaud Fund, created in the late 1990s by company founder, Tony Bakker, was established to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that serve disadvantaged populations, focusing on education programs for youth and the disabled located in and around Charleston, SC. To help facilitate this program, Blackbaud partnered with the Coastal Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in South Carolina. The foundation is instrumental in helping Blackbaud identify areas with the greatest need and partnering with the nonprofits that have the greatest capacity to serve those needs. 

In 2013, the program was renamed the Blackbaud Community Matters Grants Program and was extended into several communities where Blackbaud has office locations including Austin, Texas; St. Paul, Minnesota; New York, New York; Bedford, New Hampshire; Toronto, Canada; London, England; Brisbane, Australia; and Sydney, Australia. 

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