SECF's Response to COVID-19 Coronavirus
Like many of you, SECF has been closely monitoring developments related to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11. As a membership association, we want to provide you with information on how you and your organization can best respond to this outbreak. We also want to update you on how SECF is responding, including the impact on our events and programs.
Last week we posted a collection of resources on SECF.org to help foundations take action to protect their employees and visitors – foundations, like any other workplace, should follow these guidelines and make their employees aware of actions they can take to limit the spread of the virus. We will continue to update this post as new information and resources become available. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also continually updating their COVID-19 pages with new information. SECF.org also includes links to resources from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy on how philanthropic organizations can support response and recovery to the outbreak.
Several of our members have contacted us regarding the status of upcoming SECF programs. The health and safety of our members and staff is our highest priority – in order to reduce the need for traveling and maintain social distancing, we have made the following modifications to our program schedule:
- The Atlanta Foundations Forum event scheduled for April 9 has been postponed. We are working to reschedule this event for a date later in 2020.
- We will announce by Friday, March 20, whether the CEO Forum, currently scheduled for April 23-24 in Sarasota, Florida, will need to be moved to another date later this year.
- No other changes to our program lineup have been made at this time; however, we will continually assess whether events need to be rescheduled as the situation develops.
The SECF staff will remain available to support you during this time. However, out of an abundance of caution, our staff will begin working remotely on Friday, March 13 through Friday, April 3, at which point we will evaluate whether to reopen our offices. We believe we have the technology in place to make this an easy transition, though we do ask for your flexibility and patience over the first two days of this process in case technical complications arise.
Our team can still be reached by calling (404) 524-0911, though we have also provided direct contact information for all staff at the end of this post.
During this remote work period, we are instituting a “no travel” policy for our staff, though we will continue to participate in meetings via phone call and video conferencing whenever possible. If you had an in-person meeting scheduled with anyone on our staff between now and April 3, we will reach out to you to either set up a conference call or reschedule for a later date.
We made these decisions to not only keep our members and staff safe, but also to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus to vulnerable populations and to reduce the burden on our health care system, which is expected to increase in the days and weeks ahead.
We and the rest of the SECF team remain available to support you during this uncertain time. Please reach out to us if you need assistance.
Janine Lee is president and CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. Regan Gruber Moffitt is chief strategy officer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and chair of the SECF Board of Trustees.