$10 Million will Support Hundreds of Nonprofits in their COVID-19 Recovery 

In a moment that has been marked with so much strain, our Foundation has been so moved to be able to invest heavily in our nonprofit community’s recoveryWe know nonprofits are hurting.  Since March, local organizations have been reporting to the Foundation the impacts COVID-19 has had on their ability to serve the community. With limited fundraising options and few earned income streams for months, nonprofits in Miami-Dade County, while serving on the frontlines of this crisis, have struggled to pay rent, pay employees, and generally keep their doors open. Local nonprofits have survived on dwindling operating reserves and the generosity of local philanthropists.  

In partnership with Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners, we helped design and execute one of our community’s largest nonprofit relief programs in decades, with a special focus on helping where relief was needed most. Through hundreds of conversations with nonprofits in the region, it became clear that small nonprofits, those with just a handful of employees, had been left out of many federal relief opportunities and we wanted to ensure this program supported the front-line organizations who have been the life blood of our community for the last six months. 

With no time to waste, we built out the Miami-Dade Nonprofit Support Grant Program in a matter of weeks ensuring that the guidelines did three main things: 1) honored the intention of the Commissioners in their approval of the funds, 2) adhered to the very strict criteria set out by the federal government for allowable usages of CARES Funds, and 3) met the diverse needs of the local nonprofit community. 

Knowing that organizations only had three short weeks in which to apply and that many of these organizations were relatively small with limited administrative capacity to quickly complete a grant application, the Foundation hired additional staff to explicitly focus on supporting organizations with their applications We supported over 850 organizations through office hours, webinars, and email support.  The Foundation also partnered closely with the County, the Commissioners, and our community partners to get the word out about the grant opportunity. We wanted every organization that applied to be successful in their application. 

In total, 608 applications were received with a total ask of over $13.4 million Of those applicants, at least 146 had not yet received a single form of government support related to COVID-19. The Program Guidelines were designed for organizations with 25 or fewer employees, so applicants were among the smallest nonprofits in our community – the average gross revenues for the applicants was $550K and over half of applicants had gross revenues under $250K. The huge majority of applicants also had under five full-time employees. 

Unlike many of our grant programs that allow for some level of subjective criteria to make award decisions, this grant program relies completely on objective criteria, due to the requirements of CARES Act funding.  The Program stipulates that funding must be used to cover employee payroll, business interruption costs, reopening, and other expenses related to COVID-19.  As we review each application, we must ensure complete documentation for every single dollar that is requested.  This level of application review is tough, but we know it is worth it in order to ensure the fidelity of this program.

We continue to be amazed by the strength we see from Miami’s nonprofits. Many organizations, despite significant financial losses, continued to find creative ways to serve the food, education, and health needs of vulnerable populations in our community. As we process millions of dollars worth of grants in record time, we know that organizations have been doing more with less, and that for many of them, these funds are the oxygen they need right now. Running a high quality, high-speed grant program with this volume of activity is not for the faint of heart, but our team is filled with gratitude knowing that we have the chance to stand with our community’s nonprofits in a moment when they need us most.

To learn more about the Miami-Dade Nonprofit Support Grant Program and the Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts, visit If you have specific questions, please contact 


Lindsey Linzer is the senior director for programs and grants administration at The Miami Foundation 

Pictured: Miami Music Project, a 2020 grantee

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