Seattle Foundation Blog

Support for local workers and families surges as COVID-19 Response Fund hits $14.3 million

More than 1,700 diverse contributors now include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Joshua Green Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, Schultz Family Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Wells Fargo Foundation, and Macklemore.

March 25, 2020

SEATTLE, Wash. — A groundswell of giving from individuals, philanthropy, government, and businesses in the Puget Sound region pushed the COVID-19 Response Fund total to $14.3 million yesterday. Hosted and administered by Seattle Foundation, the Fund is rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations that are working on the frontlines to provide disproportionately impacted workers and families with emergency assistance, such as financial support, healthcare, and childcare.

“We know it’s going to take all of these resources, and much more, to get through these incredibly difficult times,” said Seattle Foundation President & CEO Tony Mestres. “While the challenges facing our region are growing day by day, our community is rising to those challenges with determination to support the most economically vulnerable—residents without health insurance, gig-economy and healthcare workers, people experiencing homelessness, and many others.”

In the last week, significant contributors joining the Fund included (in alphabetical order):  Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Auth0, Banner Bank, BNSF Railway, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Joshua Green Foundation, KeyBank, Liberty Mutual, Macklemore (Haggerty & Davis Equity Fund), Medina Foundation, Microsoft Alumni Network, Nordstrom, Northwest Area Foundation, NW Children’s Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, Puget Sound Energy Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Seahawks, T-Mobile Foundation, Target, Tencent America, Two Herons Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation and Weyerhaeuser.

The Fund has also received more than 1,700 online contributions to date, ranging from $5 to $25,000. Individuals and organizations can donate and find additional information about the COVID-19 Response Fund via

Since the Fund launched on March 9, Seattle Foundation has been working with United Way of King County and King County’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group to identify an initial slate of grantees. Grants totaling $10 million will be announced on Monday, March 30.

In its first round of funding, the Fund is prioritizing communities who have been particularly impacted by the coronavirus crisis, such as low-income residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, low-income workers in healthcare and the service industry, gig-economy workers, communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, as well as people with disabilities, greater health risks, limited English proficiency, and others.


“The pandemic feels like a universal experience, but we have to recognize that not all of us will experience it equally,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Pivotal Ventures. “By supporting local community response efforts, we can help make sure that, in this moment of crisis, we’re not leaving the most vulnerable behind.”

"People in our city are hurting,” said Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore. “The economic devastation has drastically impacted so many of my friends and our greater community as a whole. We have to come together in this unprecedented and challenging time to protect the most impacted during this crisis."

"This is a time in our Seattle community that we must all come together,” said Sheri Schultz, president and co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. “Thousands have lost jobs with no definitive answer as to how long this will continue. We must unite, as friends and neighbors to help support those among us who need it most. No contribution will be too small. Let's give from our hearts, and keep everyone supported and safe.”

“It’s important in times of immense, widespread community need that we work together,” said Mary Knell, Wells Fargo Pacific Northwest Commercial Banking Division Executive. “We’re grateful for the leadership of the Seattle Foundation as they act swiftly to care for our most vulnerable Puget Sound residents. We hope our support provides a measure of relief as we stand with the community during this challenging situation.”

“It’s important that we unite as a community to help those in need during this time,” said Matt Hill, KeyBank Seattle President and Commercial Banking Sales Leader. “The leadership of the Seattle Foundation is inspiring us all to come together to support our neighbors and communities in which we live and work.”


Seattle Foundation ignites powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all. As a community foundation, it works to advance equity, shared prosperity, and belonging throughout the region while strengthening the impact of the philanthropists it serves. Founded in 1946 and with more than $1.1 billion in assets, the Foundation pursues its mission with a combination of deep community insight, civic leadership, philanthropic advising, and judicious financial stewardship.


Seattle Foundation: Michele Frix at or 206.617.7281 (mobile)



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