by Corinne Yank, GoPhil Communications Manager

GoPhil’s Rapid Response Fund was launched at the very beginning of April 2020. At such an uncertain time and in the face of the mounting COVID-19 crisis, the needs of GoPhil partners were at an all-time high and growing quickly. We launched the Rapid Response Fund with the hope that GoPhil could provide support and relief to partners and communities bearing the brunt of the crisis. We held our breath, not knowing how anyone would respond, certain that everyone was already dealing with challenges and unknowns of their own.

The initial response we received from the GoPhil donor community surpassed our most hopeful dreams and expectations. So many GoPhil donors, sponsors, travelers, family members, friends, coworkers, and newcomers, acted quickly and generously, rallying behind GoPhil partners. Meanwhile, GoPhil staff and volunteers worked around the clock, communicating with GoPhil partners and streamlining our grant-making processes.

Miraculously, the first round of Rapid Response Funding was out the door and on its way to GoPhil partners by April 4th, just days after the initiative was launched. Since then, it has been incredibly inspiring to see Rapid Response Funds applied by courageous and determined GoPhil partners, reaching thousands upon thousands of individuals in their hour of most urgent need.


To date, thanks to your support and solidarity, the Rapid Response Fund has: 

  • Raised more than $130,000 to support GoPhil partner and community emergency needs related to the COVID-19 crisis; 
  • Distributed more than $60,000 (and counting) to GoPhil partners in just over a month’s time;
  • Repurposed more than $11,000 in existing grants, largely to help partners fund essential running costs, such as core staff salaries, while other programs were put on hold;
  • Provided 16 grants to GoPhil partners;
  • Reached over 5,500 families (and counting!) with emergency support to help them meet their most essential needs, such as food, water and hygiene supplies.
    • This means that, based on average family sizes, an estimated 27,000+ individuals have been reached via GoPhil partners.

In India…

TARA Child Protection & Empowerment began providing basic food items to 250 people in early May to the villages surrounding the TARA Outreach Center for 3 months.

“I really want to thank the GoPhil team for all your efforts. It is amazing to work with GoPhil as a partner. You are always so close to the field… It is really a relief for us to know that we can provide the TOC (Tara Outreach Center) community with food for the next 3 months!” – Arantxa at TARA

AVANI Women & Child Rights has distributed 3,200 food supply kits to families from 47 waste picker communities or ‘slums’ in the Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts, reaching an estimated 16,000 individuals in total as of April 29th. Each kit provides a family of 5 with enough food for at least a month. Additionally, 720 children from out of work migrant families in the brickyards have been receiving daily meals from AVANI’s community kitchen program.

Vikalp Sansthan delivered emergency food supplies by mid-May to 1,150 families, reaching approximately 5,750 people in total. On May 20th, an additional 1,100 food packages were delivered to migrant laborers who were traveling to Uttar Pradesh by train.

“I would like to share that GoPhil was the first organisation who proactively came forward and supported… On behalf of the community and Vikalp Sansthan, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” – Yogesh, Vikalp Sansthan

Equal Community Foundation was able to repurpose some of their remaining grant funds to maintain 3 Project Raise staff salaries for April, May and June, while training and workshops were on hold.

In Nepal…

PHASE Nepal has reached 79 people with severe disabilities, providing food and medical supplies to support them and their families in the coming months. Amidst the chaos of the crisis and running so many other essential programs, PHASE identified this new group of people in need of support and established a brand new program to ensure their survival.

“We didn’t know where else to turn for these funds, so it was such a relief when we received GoPhil’s email.” – Gerda at PHASE Nepal

In Guatemala…

ASSADE recently made a third delivery of Primary Care Kits to at-risk families in rural communities. The content of each Primary Care Kit included: hand soap, disinfectant, laundry detergent, dish soap, rubbing alcohol, toothpaste, toothbrushes, menstrual products, bleach and medicines such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cetirizine, multivitamins, vitamin C, rash cream, wound care supplies, condoms, a pregnancy test and a small manual created by the staff at ASSADE about effects and prevention of COVID-19.

Centro Maya delivered emergency food parcels and hygiene supplies to 75 program participants and their families with the most urgent needs as of May 09. You can read more about this ongoing project here.

EntreMundos provided 8 emergency grants to grassroots partners and change-makers in Guatemala with the amazing support of one GoPhil donor. 

In Kenya…

Maji Moto Enkiteng Lepa School is providing shelter and emergency support to 18 girls who could not be returned to their families for safety reasons. While school is closed, Maji Moto and the girls in their care have kept busy preparing and providing emergency food support to other local community members in need.

In Cambodia…

HUSK Cambodia provided food relief support for the 7 Softies Program women and their families, and will continue to do so for the coming months, as needed. These women are self-employed and currently have no work as all Softies orders have been cancelled or put on hold.

Free To Shine distributed emergency support to 15 high-risk girls and their families, consisting of 28 adults and 49 children, which will cover their essential needs for 3 months. In addition to this community support, GoPhil donors were flexible and repurposed existing grants to support core staff salaries, helping ensure the sustainability of FTS itself.

“…a huge thank you to [GoPhil] for the work you are doing to support partners through this, even when you’re amidst your own difficulties… In particular, [the GoPhil donors saying ‘we stand with Free To Shine for the long haul,’] moved me to tears, because this kind of real heartfelt support means the world to me right now. That matters. Thank you.” – Nicky Mih, Free To Shine

Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) received funding in mid-May that will support 12 high-risk families in May and an additional 12 medium-risk families in June to access food and other basic needs.

In Laos…

Laos Educational Opportunities Trust provided food supplies, bedding and cooking equipment for 47 returning migrant workers being housed in an isolation center next door to their sewing school.

In Vietnam…

Children’s Education Foundation has provided emergency funds to students and families where both parents have lost their incomes. With the lack of rain causing agricultural problems on top of the COVID-19 lockdown, food is their primary need.

“GoPhil’s support has been so vital to the operations of Linda and the CEF staff and during these extremely difficult times it’s wonderful to get the extra donation to help the families of our children. GoPhil has been such a great partner for a long time.” – Stephen at CEF

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation received funding which will support urgent trafficking rescues for women who have been trapped in China during the lockdown, as well as follow-up care for rescued survivors.

“…It seems [trafficking] rescues are going to be getting easier again now. With travel restrictions loosening both in China and Vietnam, we’re able to do more rescues. In the past week we’ve managed to rescue 4 women. We’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to rescue the other 21 women who are still waiting and are desperate to come home.”  – Blue Dragon Team

What we have accomplished together over the past few weeks shows the immense strength and potential for good that exists within GoPhil and philanthropy as a whole.

The success of the Rapid Response Fund stemmed from so many people and places that make GoPhil what it is: 

  • A network of trusted partner organizations, attuned to the real needs of the communities they support and perfectly positioned to spearhead locally-led, grassroots relief efforts. 
  • A dedicated, flexible team of GoPhil staff and volunteers who acted quickly and worked together around the clock to put everything in place. 
  • A unique and agile philanthropic model which allowed for processes to be streamlined and funds to be distributed quickly and efficiently. 
  • A (com)passionate base of donors and supporters that joined together in the spirit of humanity to protect the most at-risk, vulnerable communities. 

Thank you to each and every one of you who contributed so far and helped make all of this possible. Whether you shared a post on Facebook, attended a virtual gathering, made a donation or just emailed our team to check in, we appreciate you more than words can express!

The Rapid Response Fund initially focused on the most marginalized groups of society, who currently bear the brunt of this crisis. Meanwhile, GoPhil partners themselves have been struggling internally – both financially and emotionally. Stress is at an all-time high. Some partners have already been forced to make tough decisions, such as reducing staff salaries or laying off team members.

At GoPhil, we know that we need to strike a balance between responding to community needs, while also ensuring a portion of Rapid Response Funds are set aside for partners’ own sustainability and essential running costs. If you are able, please consider an additional contribution to the Rapid Response Fund and help GoPhil partners survive the next phase of this global crisis.