Toniic Member-Led Rapid Philanthropy Response to COVID-19

Toniic Members Rebekah Helzel, Jennifer McFarlane and Sayuri Sharper led a rapid response Covid-19 philanthropic initiative to provide meaningful grants to up to two Bay Area nonprofits focused on addressing the greatest needs of the most vulnerable arising from COVID-19. The donor advised fund, which was held at ImpactAssets, was seeded with a $50,000 matching grant and raised over $100,000 from 20 Toniic community members.

Twelve non profits were nominated by the Fund participants for consideration. These organizations were chosen for their emphasis on supporting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, namely food security, housing, basic expenses, health, and educational support.

Selection criteria was based on the organization’s focus on these most immediate needs; their overall effectiveness; their focus on major gap(s) that were under addressed by other initiatives; and where funds could have the largest impact.  The final recipients were selected under a two step voting process which included Zoom meetings that provided the opportunity to learn about the dire needs in Northern California created by Covid and some unique solutions to some of the region’s most pressing problems. One key priority was getting funds into the community as soon as possible, so the process was completed within three weeks.

The two final recipients who each received over $50,000 were:

LifeMoves dedicated to finding solutions to homelessness in Silicon Valley by giving neighbors experiencing homelessness a temporary place to call home, while providing intensive, customized case management through both shelter programs and community outreach. LifeMoves will use the Toniic funds to acquire PPE for both staff and clients, food for clients and hazard pay for staff.

Mission Asset Fund works to create a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families by helping low income and immigrant communities become visible, active, and successful participants in the U.S. financial mainstream. Mission Asset Fund will direct funding to Alameda County where the need is the highest, dispersing over 100 grants of $500 to individuals and families.

Thank you to the following Toniic members and staff for their thoughtful and incredibly generous participation:

James Chowdry
Emilie Cortes
Sharon Dowdell
Jed Emerson
Tim Freundlich
Elizabeth Funk
Rebekah Helzel
Brent Kessel
Tracy Masington & Adam Bendell
Jennifier McFarlane
Money in Motion
Matt Patsky
Dipti Pratt
Pamela Roussos
Kristin Siegel
Tony Stayner
Sayuri Sharper
Kristin Siegel

To learn more about the initiative, contact Dipti Pratt at

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