Statement Schusterman March 16, 2020

Statement in Response to COVID-19

by: Team Schusterman

When we entered 2020, we anticipated an eventful year. Most of us did not anticipate that a key challenge would come in the form of a global public health crisis.

At the Schusterman Family Foundation, we have been monitoring the spread of COVID-19 with deep concern for the people and communities affected. We mourn the loss of lives across the U.S. and around the world. As the situation evolves, we continue to make adjustments to ensure the health and safety of our teams and work environments. We are taking seriously the guidance around social distancing as the best way to decrease transmission and support our healthcare systems at this time.

To that end, like so many others, we have moved our teams to work from home and put all business travel on hold through April. We are encouraging our people to take steps to maintain their physical, mental and emotional well-being during this time, and our teams to find ways to stay connected, cared for and supported as we move to virtual work environments.

As a Foundation that also operates convenings and programs, we have shifted in-person gatherings to take place online or postponed them altogether. Our ROI Summit, which was scheduled to take place in Israel in June, has been postponed, and we have postponed our first REALITY journey to Israel. We have also delayed the kickoff gathering for the next cohort of Schusterman Fellows.

We recognize the deep and significant impact this crisis is having on our grantees and partners that work in K12 education, the Jewish community, Israel, Tulsa, criminal justice reform and gender and reproductive equity. Many are facing school closures, economic losses, and employees and constituents who are at serious financial risk.

We are speaking with our grantees in each of our portfolio areas to understand the challenges they face and the needs we can help them address. Their concerns include how best to support their constituents, as well as how to navigate a stressful financial situation, make payroll and meet grant obligations.

Given the current crisis, we are committed to working closely with our grantees in new and different ways. We have assured them that we will maintain our support, as well as give them the time to plan and respond; the flexibility to adjust activities and metrics as needed; and the partnership to consider ways we can support them. We also know our ability to get funds to organizations at this time is hugely important, so we are waiving reporting requirements related to payments, relaxing or postponing milestones, and releasing any payments scheduled for the coming months.

Particularly as it relates to our work in the United States, we are deeply concerned that low-income communities, especially communities of color, are likely to suffer the most at this time—most notably, the young people and their families who are at the center of our work. We are speaking with other foundations about potential efforts to help those with the fewest resources to withstand the hardships created by this pandemic.

This is a moment of great uncertainty and disruption in our personal and professional lives. We do not yet know the full human, economic and social impact of this pandemic. We are committed to being there for our staff and their families, for our partners and for the broader communities we support. And, of course, we look forward to healing for those who are sick and to a resolution to this public health crisis.