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The McNulty Foundation launches the Global Response Fund

We have streamlined our grant-making process to quickly aid efforts to combat COVID-19 and address the devastating impacts it will have on our communities.

Soon after the reality of the novel coronavirus reached the United States in early March, the McNulty Foundation decided to suspend applications for the 2020 John P. McNulty Prize and Catalyst Fund cycle, and shift resources and capacity to support critical response efforts to the crisis.

In addition to supporting emergency response efforts for vulnerable populations where we live and work in New York City, the Foundation created the Global Response Fund in partnership with the Aspen Global Leadership Network, to deploy rapid response funds to a network of leading entrepreneurs and change-makers to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in the most vulnerable communities around the globe.

For twelve years, the John P. McNulty Prize has recognized individuals, all Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, who are driving solutions to intractable problems facing their communities around the world. In late March, the Foundation put out a call to this network of entrepreneurs and leaders, urging those mobilizing direct nonprofit responses to the pandemic to apply for grants.

In the first three weeks of the Fund, the Foundation deployed over $250,000 to 30 organizations. These organizations are reaching communities in over 15 countries, and their efforts include:

  • Providing medical relief & PPE to vulnerable health systems
  • Leading community support in the form of food, hygiene kits, or economic assistance to at-risk populations including Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica, unemployed women in Panama, low-income families in California, the vulnerable elderly in South Africa & India, and others.
  • Transitioning to virtual learning and convening, and/or creating tech solutions to COVID-19’s challenges
  • Spreading knowledge and awareness about the pandemic; whether through reporting on the crisis in Syria, online webinars & training for frontline workers in El Salvador, or combating misinformation through storytelling for children in East Africa
  • Activating youth to lead on community response efforts in Uganda and Palestine

The Bulungula Incubator


We have been proud to adapt our strategies and respond quickly and forcefully to help our partners around the world and the heroic efforts they are undertaking to provide protective equipment, food, healthcare, and all kinds of support to communities around the world.

In addition to providing emergency grants to local relief efforts and through the Global Response Fund, the McNulty Foundation has also undertaken efforts and best practices to alleviate the stressors that our nonprofit partners are sure to face during this ongoing crisis. We have increased our overall grant-making, loosened reporting requirements or other restrictions, and have accelerated planned giving to existing partners. We have signed on to the Council of Foundations’ pledge: A Call to Action: Philanthropy’s Commitment During COVID-19.

Like so many people and organizations, this crisis has made us acutely conscious of the inequities and systemic failures that we seek to address, and of our limitations as philanthropic organizations as a whole. At the same time, it has filled us with hope and inspiration at the examples of leaders and organizations we are so fortunate to support and amplify. In every sector and in every country, people are stepping up to help their neighbors, and we are proud to back them.

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