Coronavirus: Cariplo’s fund for affected communities

Fondazione Cariplo’s Board of Directors signed off a €2 million fund to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and its economic fallout on nonprofit organizations.

In the past few weeks, as many nonprofit organizations stepped in pulling out all the stops to help those affected by the current emergency, others found themselves struggling in the face of the extraordinary precautionary measures put in place by Italy’s central government and local administrations to contain the Coronavirus outbreak. The resources provided by Fondazione Cariplo through its emergency fund will help nonprofits introduce or strengthen efforts to support people in need and mitigate the economic fallout of the lockdown.

“Alongside businesses also numerous nonprofit and volunteer organizations are struggling. We believe it is absolutely urgent to catalyze resources to aid and draw attention to these organizations that play a key role for the services they provide to families and their operation of cultural venues such as theatres and museums The fund approved by our Board of Directors is a first action in which others may join: a first step to mobilize resources including those of other players and individuals willing  to join us and collaborate with institutions and community foundations” - said Giovanni Fosti, President, Fondazione Cariplo 

Fondazione Cariplo is joining forces with Community Foundations, which due to their proximity to local communities can best intercept existing needs and respond to them. In the twenty years since their first establishment, Community Foundations have proven their worth in promoting a culture of giving, participation and solidarity. In the current emergency these foundations are boosting their efforts. Some of them, especially those based in Lodi and Bergamo have already announced their own initiatives and dedicated funds to which Fondazione Cariplo contributes with its resources.

Third-sector organizations running services that are key to families (e.g. nursery schools, day care centers for children, the elderly and other vulnerable population groups) as well as numerous other cultural and social activities are among those who have been struggling after the government introduced public health protection measures. To date it is not possible to measure exactly the actual impact on them, although judging by recently circulated estimates it will be dramatic. This is why Fondazione Cariplo allocated resources to help them introduce or strengthen community services for vulnerable people who are isolated in their homes during the lockdown. Later, once the scope of the government’s and regional administration’s interventions becomes clearer, financial resources will need to be funneled to mitigate the economic impact of the lockdown and the medium-term risk of reduced participation in cultural and socialization events by the broader population. Hence, once the emergency is over, resources will be used to re-activate community-based socialization and to re-launch cultural initiatives and programs.

The resources provided by Fondazione Cariplo will be prioritized, yet not exclusively given, to the communities that have been hardest hit by the Coronavirus outbreak and the containment measures that had to be taken. Here are some examples of the needs that have arisen as reported by third-sector players:

  • care needs of the most vulnerable who found themselves deprived of assistance as services are now suspended; these individuals face increased costs to get services and receive no financial aid;
  • closure of day care centers had an impact on families as well as on third sector organizations. The risk of becoming strained under the weight of overheads and lost revenues is high especially for those organizations that run day care centers or operate them under an agreement with a public entity and are paid on a piece-rate rather than on lump-sum basis;
  • closure of theatres and museums will cause not only financial difficulties due to lost revenues while costs keep running, but also organizational difficulties associated with the rescheduling of events, ticket refunds, or even additional costs when museums reopen (e.g. exhibitions needing to stay on for longer so that all people whose booking had already been accepted can view them);
  • in certain areas, type-B social co-operatives had to halt their production and may be unable to meet agreed delivery time on their orders, which impacts in particular those that cannot reschedule them (e.g. orders for products for the Easter festivities).