Insights from the Research Team

COVID-19 Global Impact & Innovation Fund

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Written by
Anu Khan
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We are excited to announce the launch of the COVID-19 Global Impact & Innovation Fund, in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank.

The COVID-19 crisis changes daily and the needs of our communities shift from moment to moment. Donors have to decide whether to fund protective equipment for hospital staff, provide financial relief for furloughed workers, fund diagnostics and treatment, or contribute to all of these areas simultaneously. Through the Fund, Founders Pledge members, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and its clients, and members of the public can pool resources to increase impact, enabling a response that is flexible to the situation as it unfolds. The Founders Pledge research team, building on our existing work on pandemic preparedness, will identify funding opportunities in three main areas:

  • Stopping the spread of COVID-19 through a robust medical response
  • Mitigating the social and economic costs to families by meeting their immediate needs
  • Preparing for future pandemics
We will focus our efforts on identifying opportunities where donations will have the highest impact, separating the signal from the noise in a conversation flooded with news reports, statistics, and often-conflicting opinions.

We are still in the early stages of this crisis. Initial distributions from the Fund will focus on stopping the spread of the disease and meeting the immediate needs of affected communities.

To stop the spread, we will fund:

  • Organizations that collect data needed by governments and institutions to understand outbreaks
  • Researchers working to develop faster diagnostics, as well as vaccines and treatments
  • Government-supported efforts in low-income countries to train and prepare healthcare workers
  • Other high-impact initiatives
These include the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, one of our top recommended charities for existential risk preparedness.

To mitigate the social and economic costs to affected communities, we will look for:

  • Organizations that provide direct aid to families in need
  • Nonprofits with experience in disaster relief in the US, UK, EU, and globally
  • Innovative responses to the unique challenges of this crisis, including social distancing

Opportunities to provide immediate relief include GiveDirectly, one of our top recommended charities for poverty alleviation, which recently launched a COVID-19 response fund.

When the current crisis slows, and immediate needs have been met, we will shift our focus to long-term preparedness for future pandemics and existential risks. Pandemics are “grey rhinos”: probable, high-impact, but neglected events.

We can support a successful global response to the next crisis by funding:

  • Research into natural and engineered biosecurity risks
  • Policy proposals that build government capacity and promote public health
This includes funding Stanford’s Biosecurity Initiative, housed in the Center for International Security and Cooperation, another of our top recommended charities for existential risk preparedness.

We are fortunate to partner with Silicon Valley Bank who have committed $1 million to the Fund and are inviting their clients to contribute as well. SVB recognizes that a connected community is a stronger community, one that can get resources to high-impact organizations quicker. We greatly appreciate their support both in this work and to Founders Pledge’s mission.

View a complete list of up-to-date funding opportunities here. This list will be updated regularly as we identify new and urgent funding opportunities. Donors will be updated on the Fund’s impact through the website and by email. Though the opportunities included in the Fund will change over time, our primary goal will remain the same: helping our community of entrepreneur-philanthropists fight COVID-19, and future pandemic risks, in the most impactful ways.

Anu Khan


Prior to joining Founders Pledge, Anu was a materials science researcher at Northwestern University, working at the intersection of surface chemistry and energy technology. She primarily studied high-temperature catalysts for solid oxide fuel cells and thermochemical reactors. She received her MS in chemistry from Caltech and her AB in chemistry from Princeton.