Reflections on Grantmaking during COVID-19

December 01, 2020

While many of our fall classes are still underway, we would like to take time to reflect on our Spring 2020 semester, where 350 students participated in 16 classes to direct $134,000 LxG grant funds to nonprofits in their community. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits have seen an increased demand for their services while at the same time being hit with drop-offs in financial support. If you are looking to donate to a vetted nonprofit this Giving Tuesday, we have provided a list of our Spring 2020 grant recipients below. 

Thank you to all of our faculty, students, and nonprofits for making an impact in your communities. 

Coping with COVID-19 

While Spring 2020 brought unprecedented challenges throughout the world, college students faced a different type of uncertainty: most were left out of the CARES Act, many lost on-campus jobs and housing, classes abruptly moved online, relatives were sick. Despite these challenges, LxG students remained committed to their grantmaking. One faculty member noted:

My students are experiencing changes acutely. One now shares a room with a younger sibling, others are babysitting young children for family members who have to work. Many have been laid off from jobs. Internships have ground to a halt. After one virtual class meeting, I can tell that these students are completely committed to making a difference in our community with all the best that they can give.

Students, mid-semester, recognized that the nonprofits in their community and the people they serve needed grant funding and support to continue their work. Students and faculty quickly adjusted to the online format to ensure their grantmaking continued. 

Meeting the Moment

Our student grantmakers also asked themselves if their grantmaking priority should shift to support COVID-19; however, it quickly became apparent that no matter the impact area (housing, legal aid, domestic violence, youth mental health), these programs would be supporting people impacted by COVID-19. All nonprofits were shifting their work to support their community. For example, Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP) originally applied for a grant to reduce the debt of low-income individuals. However, HIP quickly pivoted, with the support of the Georgetown students, to use their grant award to provide emergency rent assistance. Students lifted grant restrictions and changed their RFPs to remove many requirements. 

Trust-Based Philanthropy

Moreover, LxG students adjusted their grantmaking to accommodate nonprofits that were also making major adjustments to their programs while continuing to serve their community. One faculty member acknowledged her students’ change in grantmaking: 

The students pivoted and recognized there was an extraordinary event happening and they could not act as business as usual. They realized they could not ask grantees to follow proposals and needed to lift restrictions on funding. In doing so, they demonstrated empathy and intellect. 

Now more than ever, students see how philanthropy can be innovative, responsive, and a critical resource. Even though all of our classes were completed virtually and remotely, LxG grants were distributed to nonprofit grantees in an effective and timely manner. 

Spring 2020 Grant Recipients 

Here are our Spring 2020 nonprofit awardees that have been vetted and supported by LxG students. This list reflects a dedicated group of nonprofits that inspired our students with their dedication to fulfill their mission while remaining creative to serve their community during COVID-19. 

LxG Institution 

Organization Funded


University of California - Berkeley

Bay Area Community Services

Provide innovative behavioral health and housing services for teens, adults, older adults, and their families across the Bay Area. Our vision is a world where everyone is healthy, safe, and engaged in community wellness. 

George Washington University

The National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens

Our mission is to build a strong, national network comprised of individuals returning from incarceration who support each other’s successful reintegration. We use a client-centered approach to identify basic needs and to create a continuum of care that can address barriers to reentry, promote restorative practices, and reduce recidivism.

George Washington University

US Dream Academy

The U.S. Dream Academy is helping our nation's children reach for their dreams. Through academic, social, and values enrichment, we empower those children most at risk of incarceration to believe in themselves and to succeed.

Georgetown University

Legal Aid Society of D.C.

Founded in 1932, Legal Aid is the oldest and largest general civil legal services program in the District of Columbia. Our mission is to “make justice real” – in individual and systemic ways – for persons living in poverty in D.C.

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

Horizon House

Horizon House is a full-service agency that connects individuals experiencing homelessness with integrated, comprehensive services. We provide a safe place and basic services as they take steps towards a more stable life. 

James Madison University

Our Community Place

Our mission is to build a safe, loving community of restoration and hope for all, especially those facing homelessness and other adverse experiences. 

James Madison University

Blue Ridge Legal Services

Blue Ridge Legal Services, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable civil legal aid program providing free legal assistance in civil matters of critical importance to low-income residents of the Shenandoah Valley and Roanoke Valley.

University of Louisiana -Monroe

Center for Children and Families

The Center for Children and Families is redefining the way children in crisis are being served in communities throughout Louisiana.  What began in 1999 as a tiny back room office, has now grown into a thriving, nationally recognized non-profit agency that stands as a beacon of hope for those in crisis situations. Our passion is to promote safe, healthy environments through advocacy, counseling, education and prevention.

Northeastern University

South End Community Health Center

South End Community Health Center (SECHC) is a comprehensive health care organization for all residents of the South End and surrounding communities. We are committed to providing the highest quality, coordinated health care that is both culturally and linguistically sensitive to every patient, regardless of ability to pay.

Rutgers University

Greater Newark Conservancy

We promote environmental stewardship to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s urban areas. Founded in 1987, the Conservancy has four program areas: youth and family education, community greening and gardening, job training, and advocacy for environmental justice. 

Rutgers University

Essex County Family Justice Center

Enhance the safety and autonomy of domestic violence victims and their children by providing accessible and coordinated services in one location. 

Binghamton University

Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments, INC. (VINES)

VINES is committed to developing a sustainable and just community food system. We do this by bringing together diverse groups of people, with a focus on youth development, to establish community gardens, urban agriculture and community green spaces. We strive to develop and beautify urban sites and empower community members of all ages and abilities.

Binghamton University


Our mission is to assist families who experience, or are threatened with domestic violence and to increase the community’s awareness of this pervasive problem.

Valparaiso University

Gabriel’s Horn

Gabriel's Horn helps homeless women and children rebuild their lives and to independence with dignity by providing shelter, education, counseling and referrals to community connections.

University of Wisconsin Green Bay

Court Appointed Special Advocates

CASA for Children of Brown County, Inc. is a volunteer-based non-profit organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are under the legal protection of the court system.

University of Wisconsin Green Bay

Golden House

Our mission is to provide safety and support for victims of domestic abuse while leading efforts to end domestic violence in our community.

Framingham State University

Rooted in Restoration

To be a hub of resources for building prosperous lives.

Elon University

Allied Churches of Alamance County

The mission of ACAC is to prevent and end homelessness and food insecurity through providing direct service and leadership in collaborative community efforts.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 

Cape Fear Literacy Council

Our mission is to provide personalized education so adults can transform their lives and contribute to a stronger community.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 

Literacy Connections of Wayne County

We are dedicated to developing skills in reading, math, computer, and simple finance for adult learners in Wayne County, North Carolina in order that they may achieve success at home, at work and in the community. 

University of Michigan

Racquet Up Detroit

We support and empower Detroit youth to achieve their full potential through a demanding and inspiring long-term extracurricular mentoring program or squash, academics, and community service.