The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus created a health crisis. Federal and state governments’ reactions to this challenge, however, precipitated an economic crisis that will linger past any recovery from or stabilization of the spread of the disease.

All of this has not merely ripped our social fabric – it has shredded it. While we joke about “virtual cocktail hours” and “social distancing” and enjoy sweat pant-themed video conferences, we witness fights over toilet paper and watch entire industries collapse.

Donors historically step into the breach caused by humanitarian crises. However, this humanitarian crisis was not caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, or famine but in great part by the actions of elected officials who at best sincerely believed they are acting on behalf of the common good, or, at worst, have seized an opportunity to rewrite the relationship between government and its citizens.

The most compassionate response, therefore, is to focus on scalable and practical ways to get the American worker back to the office, retail store, factory or airport; to encourage the entrepreneur to take risks; to free healthcare workers and pharmacists from counterproductive licensing requirements at a time when their services are desperately needed; to ensure the American citizen sees government intrusion into our lives and livelihoods as counterproductive and harmful.

Catalyzing Action

The Growth and Resilience Project is a program at DonorsTrust meant to leverage the financial resources of generous donors who understand the value of fighting for free enterprise, government restraint, and the entrepreneurial spirit.

This Fund will serve as a rapid funding catalyst for projects that are focused on the key areas of policy needed to get America back on its feet:

  • Employment and job creation
  • Economic deregulation
  • Reducing barriers to entry, especially in education and health care
  • Countering narratives to crisis intervention and government overreach.

It will be used to prime the pump for new projects, or to help close any funding gaps for existing relevant programs. Projects must be scalable, practical and targeted with national and not just regional implications.

Donors have limited resources to sort through the excessive email and snail mail solicitations currently coming in. Our goal with this effort is to provide individuals and foundations a simpler method of addressing the crisis by allowing the project advisors to identify and leverage appropriate solutions.

Others may prefer to follow our lead and engage directly on their own with organizations. We will continue to keep you informed of promising opportunities.

Guiding the Project

This fund is not a donor-advised fund, but a special program fund of DonorsTrust. While DonorsTrust will act as the steward for the funds, decisions on which projects to support will be made by a knowledgable advisory committee:

  • Kim Dennis, Chairman of DonorsTrust and President of the Searle Freedom Trust
  • Tracie Sharp, President of the State Policy Network
  • Brad Lips, CEO of the Atlas Network
  • Adam Meyerson, President of the Philanthropy Roundtable, and
  • Lawson Bader, President and CEO of DonorsTrust

We hope to capture those projects with the greatest potential by utilizing the collective knowledge of the Philanthropy Roundtable, DonorsTrust, Atlas Network and State Policy Network.

To ensure we are maximizing our efforts, DonorsTrust has agreed to waive any administrative fees for external contributions into this fund.

How To Give

Existing DonorsTrust clients can request a grant from their DAF account to the Growth and Resilience Fund through the usual methods. 

For others, please use this contribution form. Gifts can be made by check, wire, or as a qualified charitable disbursement from an IRA. The project also accepts appreciated stock and other types of appreciated property.

Mail checks to Donors Trust, 1800 Diagonal Rd, Suite 280, Alexandria, VA 22314. On the memo line of the check, indicate “Growth and Resilience Fund.” We also accept ACH contributions via Contact us for contribution instructions, wiring instructions, and to discuss how to make gifts of stock or other appreciated assets. Note that if you send a check, please include only Donors Trust on the payee line. If you include any other language, we will have to return the check to you.

Contributions to the fund are fully tax-deductible as DonorsTrust is a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Grantee Information

Please Note: This project ended in the summer of 2020. We are no longer accepting applications.

Supporting These Efforts

To contribute to the fund, download and complete this contribution form. Gifts can be made by check, wire, or as a qualified charitable disbursement from an IRA. The project also accepts appreciated stock and other types of appreciated property.

For questions, please contact Lawson Bader at 703-535-3563.

To share information on projects that may be relevant for the fund, email

Supported Projects

Innovative efforts funded so far include:

American Juris Link – $41,000 COVID-19 Lawsuit Tracker – This project expands Ballotpedia’s COVID lawsuit tracker. Ballotpedia has proven their ability to assemble large amounts of data and they have collected a large selection of COVID lawsuits. Cases are displayed on Ballotpedia’s webpage in a table showing case name, case number, jurisdiction, and relevant links. Because American Juris Link has been hosting recurring COVID Litigation Roundtables for lawyers, they are able to share new information with Ballotpedia in real time, and can direct lawyers to Ballotpedia’s page for legal research. This project will expand Ballotpedia’s tracker by supplementing the current selection to include a comprehensive list of COVID cases, it will classify cases by legal claims and outcomes, and identify and promote interactive search features useful to lawyers.

Beacon Center – $50,000 for How Do We Get Tennesseans Back to Work – expand capacity to pursue research around broad innovation waivers, licensing reform, creating the fastest licensing process of any state, and the ability to spur local governments to embrace permit freedom. This will include a public awareness campaign to boost public support and educate policymakers.

California Policy Center – $50,000 for Leveraging the Threat of Chapter 9 – with guidance from a CPC-led coalition of experts, As many California municipalities face severe budget shortfalls, CPC will help local government officials navigate bankruptcy proceeding, allowing governments to change debts such as union pensions, which typically are unable to be changed by law.

Center for Indonesian Policy Studies – $25,000 for the Keeping Markets Open: Fighting the Harmful Myth of Self-Sufficiency Project, addressing the harmful global trend towards national self-sufficiency in strategic goods, which threatens to prevent or delay a speedy recovery.

Competitive Enterprise Institute – $50,000 for its #NeverNeeded Campaign, designed to focus attention on the social and economic harms imposed by ill-conceived rules and regulations exposed by the efforts to control the pandemic, and leveraging public outrage to eliminate needless rules and make systemic reforms.

Foundation for Government Accountability – $50,000 for 2020 Short Term Policy Response – state and federal policy response strategy to COVID-19, designed to cut down government red tape that stands in the way of a fast recovery, move people back to work, and preserve resources for the people who need them the most.

Free the People – $50,000 for Freedom over Fear – video series on the history of America’s response to national emergencies. Gathering historical examples of how we lose our civil liberties, our property rights, and our economic freedoms when we allow fear to trump commonsense and rational discourse.

Franklin News Foundation – $50,000 for COVID-19 News Project – This grant acknowledges the journalistic work of The Center Square in its coverage of COVID-19-related state shutdown orders. The Center Square newswire service’s work is republished around the country in state and local newspapers whose readers have been starved for balanced COVID-19 news coverage since the start of the pandemic.

Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad – $25,000 for Private Health Care Saves Lives Initiative – Spanish think tank that proposes an urgent deregulation, tax cuts and advocacy initiative in response to the COVID-19 crisis and to its abuse in pursuance of nationalization.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity – $30,000 for Hiring Well, Doing Good – a two-pronged approach to help address the economic devastation from the COVID-19 crisis. It will undertake comprehensive welfare reform to support individuals who truly need it and scale its Hiring Well, Doing Good initiative to coordinate the private sector efforts of businesses and non-profit service providers to help the chronically un- and underemployed enter or re-enter the workforce.

Job Creators Network Foundation – $50,000 for the Get Back to Work project – Through its Healthcare for You framework, JCNF has developed relationships with dozens of doctors and healthcare professionals willing to speak out on policy issues and explain to the public how consumers and workers can safely start working again. Similarly, JCNF has developed a stable of small business owners to speak on economic policy issues in the media. Through radio interviews, op-eds, letters to the editor, social media, and TV appearances, JCNF’s physician corps can provide reliable advice about loosening restrictions.

Lincoln Network – $30,000 for its COVID-19 Data Project, meant to fill the gap in reliable, data-driven modeling.

Lithuanian Free Market Institute – $30,000 for #Laissez-faire Lithuania – It will build a #NeverNeeded regulatory register and produce six bi-monthly deregulation packages paired with targeted policy advocacy campaigns, aimed at removing regulatory barriers that have prevented flexible private-sector responses.

Mercatus Center – $30,000 for its Expanding Access to Free-Market Education, which will develop coronavirus-specific lesson plans on its Marginal Revolution University platform about the power of incentives, innovation, and markets in responding to the pandemic.

National Taxpayers Union Foundation – $30,000 for its Fighting Against Government Overreach After COVID-19 project, providing effective, pragmatic tax policy solutions to the crisis while protecting taxpayers from overreach.

Pioneer Institute – $44,100 for Hard-Hit Industries: Rebuilding Restaurants, Retail, and Travel & Hospitality – this project will produce research that analyzes hard-hit economic sectors in order to craft strategies to increase business viability and employment during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. It will focus on restaurants, retail, and travel and hospitality, as the pandemic’s effect is magnified for these industries.

Reason Foundation – $50,000 for Monetizing State and Local Transportation Assets – The financial impact of COVID-19 on markets and government revenues has been dramatic. State and local governments face tremendous pressure to maintain sources of funding for essential public services. Reason Foundation has research underway now that will provide a solution for policymakers looking to unlock revenue in the short-term. Asset monetization— otherwise known as asset recycling—involves the sale or lease of revenue producing infrastructure to yield large one-time windfalls, while assuring competent, businesslike management of the facilities, such as airports and toll roads.

Tax Foundation – $50,000 for the COVID-19 Response Center – this is an online education utility that provides the media, elected officials, and the general public with real-time updates that explain the many moving parts that comprise the economic implications and legislative responses to the crisis. This effort will also include dynamic modeling, an unemployment claims tracker, and both state and global response trackers designed to show the impact of responses to Covid-19.

Texas Public Policy Foundation – $50,000 for Addressing COVID-19: Right on Healthcare – using practical policy recommendations, this program will address shortcomings, particularly overregulation, within the United States’ healthcare systems. TPPF has crafted a multi-pronged strategy to tackle reforms at the state and federal levels, including but not limited to telemedicine and licensing reform.


  • Peter Lipsett

    Peter Lipsett is vice president at DonorsTrust. He also leads DonorsTrust’s Novus Society, a network of donors under 40 committed to growing their philanthropic know-how. He has a dual degree in political science and theater from Davidson College and finally got a practical credential with an MBA from George Mason University.

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