Response to the Covid-19 Crisis

Interim report March to August 2020

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August 11, 2020

While KBFUS’s response to the COVID-19 crisis continues, we wanted to share an interim report with our donors and partners on our collective progress over the last six months. The crisis is now affecting every country on earth, and the needs are greater than ever. We hope this interim report will inspire and motivate you to join us for the important work ahead.

While the world struggles to control COVID-19, much about it remains unknown. It’s that uncertainty that’s hardest to manage, including for scientists and world leaders. Right now, we are all busy with the acute crisis – it’s all about flattening the curve. We also need a long-term view, and we shouldn’t forget that at the end of the day, this crisis is about people. Epidemics often reveal the fault lines in society, and exacerbate social inequalities and inequities. That goes way beyond the biological and medical aspects, but that’s what we need to plan for now. We need to look at the social impact of the crisis, and at the mental health impact – not only of the epidemic, but of the counter measures, like lockdowns, isolation, kids not going to school.

– Dr. Peter Piot
Chairman of the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS)
Former Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Special advisor on coronavirus to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen


With COVID-19, the world changed rapidly. On March 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Europe had become the epicenter of the pandemic. The next day, both Italy and Spain surpassed China in the total number of deaths. KBFUS responded swiftly. Less than a week later, we launched our Emergency Response Funds for six European countries that were being hit particularly hard by the pandemic. And on April 7, with South Africa under a nationwide lockdown and millions of Egyptians affected by a curfew, KBFUS launched similar Emergency Response Funds for eight African countries at risk of being dangerously impacted.

The purpose of these Emergency Response Funds was to pool donor contributions, and to distribute that funding to local nonprofit organizations working on the frontlines of their country’s response to the crisis.

In addition, KBFUS worked with several corporate foundations to develop customized giving plans, targeting countries and regions that were of particular interest or concern to them.

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors who responded to our call, KBFUS made 148 grants (as of August 31), totaling over $13 million, to support 90 nonprofit organizations in 29 countries across Europe and Africa.

The diversity of the organizations we supported mirrored the varied challenges that COVID-19 has unleashed. Among them were hospitals facing an enormous influx of patients, and lacking emergency equipment and basic supplies. Substantial support was also provided to local nonprofits working with the most vulnerable groups – the elderly, the poor and the homeless.

In Africa, we facilitated grants to the WHO Regional Office for Africa to strengthen the capacity of high-risk countries. And we provided funding to groups on the frontlines – translating public health announcements to local languages, and disseminating clear and factual information about the disease.

March to August 2020

  • $13.3 million in disbursed grants
    • 56.8% of moneys went to social services
    • 25.1% of moneys went to prevention & preparedness
    • 18.1% of moneys went to medical care
  • 148 grants disbursed
  • 29 countries that received grants
  • 90 nonprofits received grants


Hungry kids cannot learn or thrive. Food4Education provides subsidized healthy meals to primary school children, with ingredients sourced directly from local farmers. Now that Kenyan schools are closed until 2021 because of COVID-19, children are more vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition. Food4Education responded by disbursing food packages and cash transfers. They have provided over 1,500,000 meals to children and their families so far.

The Fund for Congolese Women supports local, women-led organizations all across the DR of Congo. Women play a key role in the country’s economy – selling food or goods on the street, at the market or in small restaurants. As the pandemic threatens their livelihood and their ability to support their families, the Fund ensures the most vulnerable among them stay afloat during these challenging times.

An initiative organized and backed by the South African government, the Solidarity Response Fund contributes to relief efforts for the benefit of South Africans. The Fund purchases medical equipment and basic supplies such as surgical masks, protective suits and safety glasses for health care workers, and provides food parcels and other social services to support those who are in high need during the crisis.

Egypt was one of the earliest hotspots of the outbreak in Africa. Founded in 2006 by a group of local businessmen to help those in need and to fight hunger in the country, the Egyptian Food Bank distributes food packages to day laborers, their families, and other vulnerable populations which are severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in Egypt.

Early on in the crisis, the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) warned that COVID-19 would spread rapidly throughout the African continent if immediate steps were not taken to contain it. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation heard the message. Working with KBFUS, it provided key support to WHO AFRO, to strengthen the capacity of high-risk countries in the African region to respond to the pandemic.


Italy was the first country in Europe to be hit by COVID-19 – and it was hit really hard. KBFUS facilitated 27 grants to Italian nonprofit organizations, including several hospitals. Niguarda, one of the largest and most important hospitals in Milan, used its grant moneys to increase the number of beds in its intensive care unit and to purchase much needed personal protective equipment for its doctors and nurses.

Faced with the current crisis, people living on the streets are in danger – they are more fragile and more isolated, and the services they depend on to survive are struggling to keep the lights on. The Abbé Pierre Foundation, France’s leading advocate for the homeless and the most vulnerable, is disbursing personalized checks to enable them to purchase basic necessities and food.

The challenges facing Spain as it battled the coronavirus were immense. Hospital Universitario La Paz, one of the largest hospitals in Madrid, was overwhelmed by the large influx of patients. Grant moneys were needed to install additional beds in its intensive care unit, and to purchase emergency equipment such as ventilators, and basic supplies such as surgical masks, protective suits and safety glasses for its medical teams.

FareShare is the UK’s national network of food banks, made up of 17 independent organizations that take good quality surplus food from the food industry and get it to almost 11,000 frontline charities and community groups. FareShare intensified its operations during the COVID-19 crisis, to support food delivery to the elderly, those with serious health conditions, and children who previously received free school meals.

Since its founding in 2005, Infirmiers de Rue has always been a lifeline for an extremely vulnerable target group – people who survive on the streets. During this time of crisis, its work continues even more intensively. Street nurses actively reach out to the homeless in Brussels, to inform them about prevention, provide them with care and food, and assess their medical situation.


Austria, Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz – Belgium, Fondation Saint-Luc, Infirmiers de rue, King Baudouin Foundation, SB Overseas – Côte d’Ivoire, My Way Network – Cyprus, Cyprus Red Cross Society – Czech Republic, Czech Red Cross, Nemocnice Kadan – Denmark, Aarhus University, Project Outside – DR of Congo, Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises – Egypt, Egyptian Food Bank, Ibrahim Badran Charitable Foundation – France, Banque Alimentaire du Bas-Rhin, Cantine Savoyarde Solidarite, Centre Hospitalier Bagnols sur Ceze, CHU Hopitaux de Bordeaux, Fondation Abbé Pierre pour le Logement des Défavorisés, Fondation Caritas France, Fondation Hopitaux de Paris – Hopitaux de France, Fonds de dotation du CHU Grenoble Alpes, Les Relais du Coeur du Bas-Rhin, Les Relais du Coeur du Haut-Rhin, Les Restaurants du Cœur – Germany, Caritas Frankfurt, Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Tafel Deutschland – Greece, Desmos Non-Profit Foundation, Human Rights 360 – Hungary, Eröforrás Alapítvány, Hungarian Red Cross – Ireland, Alone, Children’s Health Foundation, Irish Cancer Society – Italy, ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, Azienda Sanitaria Locale Frosinone, Azienda USL Toscana Centro, Centro Assistenza per Bambini Sordi e Sordociechi, Comunità di S.Egidio-ACAP, Croce Rossa Italiana – Comitato di Milano, Fondazione comunitaria del Lecchese, Fondazione Oncologia Niguarda, Fondazione Ospedale dei Bambini di Milano – Buzzi, Fondazione Policlinico Sant’Orsola, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Opera San Francesco Saverio Foundation, Ospedali Riuniti Ancona Umberto I-G.M. Lancisi-G. Salesi – Jordan, Jordan Insurance Federation – Kenya, Africa Digital Media Foundation, Afya Research Africa, Food for Education Foundation, Penda Health – Lebanon, Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon – Liberia, Hilltop Schools – Lithuania, Laisves TV, Vilnius University Hospital – Santaros Clinics – Netherlands, Nederlandse Rode Kruis, Vereniging van Nederlandse Voedselbanken – Poland, Federacja Polskich Banków Źywności, Fundacja Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, Polish Red Cross, Szpital Pomnik Chrztu Polski – Portugal, Cruz Vermelha Portuguesa, Riverside International Church – Republic of Congo, World Health Organization – WHO AFRO – Romania, Asociatiei Magicamp – South Africa, Praekelt Foundation, Solidarity Response Fund, South African Future Trust – Spain, Fundacio Clinic per a la Recerca Biomedica, Fundación FLS Lucha contra el Sida y las Enfermedades Infecciosas, Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica del Hospital Universitario La Paz, Spanish Red Cross – Switzerland, Glueckskette, Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, Swiss Red Cross, Union for International Cancer Control – Uganda, Partners for Community Health and Development Organisation, Rockies Organization – United Kingdom, Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, Brighton and Hove City Mission, British Red Cross Society, Crisis UK, FareShare, Little Miracles, National Emergencies Trust, Palestine Association for Children’s Encouragement of Sports (PACES), Trussell Trust