Covid-19 Equitable Relief & Recovery Fund Grant

Deaconess Foundation seeks to partner with local Black-led social service and social change organizations by investing a total of $2.2 million in support of COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts in the St. Louis region. The funding will support sustaining Black-led organization’s capacity to respond to community needs during the pandemic. The Equitable Relief and Recovery Fund aims to strengthen existing regional infrastructure for public health and social service coordination while promoting racial equity, regional collaboration, and inclusion in COVID-19 responses.

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWFJ), Deaconess Foundation is able to provide an additional $1 million in humanitarian aid to the St. Louis region. RWJF’s investment in St. Louis aims to help communities that already face daunting health challenges navigate the additional burdens of the pandemic by addressing immediate needs such as food, housing, and income assistance.


Eligible organizations will be Black-led, provide direct aid (i.e. food, shelter, financial supports) to people most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or lead efforts to mobilize these communities to meet social needs. The geographic footprint for funding includes: St. Louis City, St. Louis, Jefferson, Franklin and St. Charles Counties in Missouri and Madison, Monroe and St. Clair Counties in Illinois.

In response to the great disparities in COVID-19 contraction and death rates for Black citizens and under-representation of Black leadership in regional response, this Fund focuses investment on Black-led organizations and prioritizes those who serve Black communities. Organizations are classified as Black-led if either the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Volunteer Officer identifies as Black.

Groups selected for funding must have a 501(c)(3) tax status determination with the Internal Revenue Service or have a fiscal agent with such status at the time of application. A fiscal agent is a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) designation that performs administrative management, contract management and accounting for a group that does not have a 501(c)(3) determination.

Please note that all projects supporte by the Fund must follow the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for maintaining social distancing to protect the health and safety of all those involved.


Requests will be evaluated versus immediate relief and long-term recovery needs and other proposals as long as funds are available.

Grants may range from $5,000 to $50,000. Grants are considered general operating support. Budget detail is not requested. Project detail is requested for informational purposes.

With Deaconess’ commitment to trust-based philanthropy, applications are kept brief and may be followed by staff call to secure additional information. In the spirit of mutual aid during this crisis, applicants are encouraged to request what they need with recognition of the greater need in our community and other constituencies in the days ahead.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as long as funds are available. Applicants will receive notification of status within 7 days of submission. If awarded, funding will flow within two weeks of submission. A confirmation email will be sent to the applicant once the submission has been received. Once a group or organization has been selected for funding, financial information (for award disbursement) will be required from the applicant or fiscal agent identified.

All applications must be submitted via the online form, linked below. If help is needed to complete the online form, or if you have any other questions, please contact Michael Shultz at

Link: Equitable Relief and Recovery Fund Proposal Portal