COVID-19: Increased flexibility and resources for McConnell grantees

Dear Grantees, Investees and Partners,

This has been an intense few weeks for everyone. Let me begin by expressing appreciation for the work that you and your organizations are doing to support our communities, your staff and families during this period of rapid adjustment and uncertainty. We are particularly grateful and indebted to those working in our healthcare system and other essential services. 

Building on our communication of March 16,2020, we would like to assure all grantees and investees about our commitment to support you:

  • Despite the decline in the value of our endowment the Foundation is increasing its grant budget for the year ahead.
  • We will make all scheduled payments to grantees, investees and collaborative partnerships and can advance future payments ahead of schedule to help you avoid cash-flow problems. 
  • We are also open to your re-purposing our grant or investment to support emergency response, core operating costs, or to implement a COVID-19 related idea. Please contact your Program Director for assistance.
  • We invite you to participate in peer learning about responding to COVID-19 on this platform. Innoweave will also be announcing a new webinar series with online mentoring on managing in an emergency in days to come.


Foundation staff have been working remotely since Monday, March 16 and we are set up to receive applications, ensure payments are made promptly and engage with grantees and partners. We have cancelled or postponed all scheduled in-person convening activities for the next three months, with many moving to virtual mode. This is to help ensure that our staff and partners stay healthy and safe, and able to contribute to the effort to curb COVID-19.

It is clear that we are dealing with a health emergency that is driving a severe economic downturn. The compounding effect – plus physical distancing – is putting vulnerable populations in extreme need. While McConnell and some of our peers are increasing disbursements, accelerating payments and providing flexibility around reporting, Imagine Canada estimates that without additional government help many civil society organizations will be forced to close, laying off hundreds of thousands of people. 

In addition to responding to the immediate crisis, we must also look ahead to the medium term – how will we help organizations get back on their feet? What lessons can we draw from this experience to accelerate the transition to a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable future? 

Please get in touch with us if you have a question, concern or idea to share. And please, take care.


Stephen Huddart
President and CEO