Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

Cleveland Foundation

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Ohio: Cuyahoga County, Geauga County, Lake County

Location of residency: Counties in Ohio: Cuyahoga County, Geauga County, Lake County

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About this funder:



In its earliest stages, there will not be a formal request for proposal (RFP) process for organizations seeking grant funds. The funding collaborative will proactively identify potential grantee partners, solicit guidance on proposed projects from community advisors, and recommend final awards. Grants will be made on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak, ensuring resources are deployed quickly and nimbly to meet evolving needs in real-time.

A coalition of Northeast Ohio philanthropic, corporate and civic partners have joined together to create the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to deploy resources to nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of the pandemic in our region.

About the Rapid Response Fund

The Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. The Rapid Response Fundwill provide grant awards on a rolling basis to nonprofit organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties.

What are the funding priorities of the Rapid Response Fund?

The fund will begin by deploying resources to address the urgent health, basic human services and economic needs of disproportionately impacted communities and individuals. Initially, grant funding will support nonprofit organizations that provide community safety nets (e.g. food pantries, homelessness and housing assistance, credit counseling, etc.) and have strong experience working with the immediate needs of populations made vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Rapid Response Fund will support nonprofit organizations that serve:

People over 60 years of age, people with compromised immune systems, those who are pregnant and others with increased health risks associated with the novel coronavirus

  • Low-income residents
  • Homeless people
  • Residents without health insurance and/or access to paid time off work
  • People with limited English language proficiency
  • Healthcare, service workers and part-time workers
  • People of color
  • People with disabilities
  • Incarcerated and returning individuals
  • Other populations emerging with needs as the crisis unfolds

The Rapid Response Fund will support organizations that are able to deploy resources quickly to meet emergent community needs. Funding partners will also advocate for scaling public sector action that promotes robust and timely public sector financial investment and needed regulatory, administrative and/or program adaptations to address this crisis, including issues surrounding evictions and utility shut-offs, unemployment benefits and lapses in health insurance coverage for children and those supported by Medicaid.

In the beginning, the Rapid Response Fund will not be able to prioritize organizations that have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs or larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services. The partners recognize these challenges, and as the crisis and long-term impacts continue to unfold, the collaborative will continue to assess and evolve funding strategies.

The fund also seeks to award grants that:

  • Lift up approaches tailored to specific cultural, historic and language needs of disproportionally impacted populations.
  • Support demonstration projects from which others can learn. 
  • Enhance projects funded with public dollars and/or projects that are complementary to other recovery efforts. 
  • Help establish a structure whereby grantees can collaborate, thereby leveraging new resources and maximizing impact (e.g. environmental organizations, public policy groups, arts and cultural nonprofits, community engagement organizations and media outlets working collaboratively to address the pandemic).
  • Support and encourage collaboration among grantees, public health entities, emergency management personnel, first-responders and long-term recovery group members. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Based upon the charitable structure of the Rapid Response Fund, grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations and other public entities. 


  • Dollars from this fund will not be used to directly support individuals. The partners will lift up existing resources and efforts that are in place to address the economic impact of this pandemic.
  • The partners are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) organizations.