The Scripps Family rallies around new charitable focus for the coronavirus era
Media family’s Impact Fund switches gears in its second year to rush relief to COVID-19 causes
The Scripps Family Impact Fund, a private philanthropic entity launched in 2019 by descendants of media pioneer Edward W. Scripps and his youngest son, Robert Paine Scripps, shifted its giving for 2020 to three projects related to the coronavirus pandemic, and quickly raised and distributed funds equal to more than six times the fundraising total of its first year.
As the pandemic started shutting down markets in March, the Fund’s board voted to focus exclusively – and quickly – on rushing its 2020 gifts to causes related to the virus. The Fund raised $1,600,000 from Scripps family members and distributed it to the following three initiatives:
- Scripps Research Institute – the family is funding research to advance promising compounds identified from the biomedical research institute’s ReFRAME drug repurposing collection that demonstrate effectiveness against COVID-19. Compounds that have already been in clinical development for other applications could be rapidly advanced into compassionate use human trials, including for first responders and healthcare workers, to determine their effectiveness as treatments or preventatives.
- Scripps Employee Relief Fund – the family joined leadership of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) in supporting financial resources that are helping company employees who have been adversely affected by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
- Food pantries in Scripps markets – working in conjunction with the Scripps Howard Foundation, the family established an initiative to support targeted food pantries in the 40+ markets where SSP operates its local television stations and national media businesses.
“Organizations across the world are learning to be more agile because of the coronavirus, and the Scripps Family Impact Fund is no different,” said Wes Scripps, co-chair of the Fund’s board. “The directors were busily reading grant applications from healthcare organizations when we were inundated, like everyone else, with headlines about the coming pandemic. We could have just hit the ‘pause’ button for a year, but we instead pivoted to virus-related causes and exceeded our wildest expectations in the speed and scope of our fundraising.”
The board conducted a comprehensive review of new options before deciding on the projects listed above.
“We are working with trusted partners who have been doing great work under the Scripps name for decades,” said Ray Granado, secretary of the Fund’s board of directors. “Given the incredibly short turnaround time, we knew it was important to work with strong, reputable entities, and Scripps Research Institute and the Scripps Howard Foundation are the best at what they do.”
The Scripps Family Impact Fund was launched in 2019 to coordinate certain philanthropic efforts of a family with a long history of impactful philanthropy. For its inaugural year, more than $265,000 was gifted to three outstanding organizations in the category of children’s services: Love146, the Alliance for Children, and Reach Out & Read. In 2020, the focus of the Impact Fund was scheduled to be on general healthcare charities. Dozens of nonprofits applied for 2020 grants and have been informed that they will remain in consideration for grants when the normal giving cycle resumes next year. Healthcare organizations interested in receiving a grant in 2021 should monitor the Fund’s website for application information starting this fall.
“We knew the family would rise to the occasion as they did when we started this effort last year,” said Jaime Scripps, co-chair of the Fund, “but none of us thought we would be this successful. Providing economic security or a decent meal to struggling families, and making progress on finding a treatment for the virus are audacious goals, but I’m proud that the Scripps family has made a real impact on those worthy objectives.”