Results from two survey questions. Note that as of 23-24 March, many African research/conservation institutions of our grantees were still open for operations.

JRS Biodiversity Foundation’s COVID-19 Grantee Survey: People First

The JRS Biodiversity Foundation has been working with our grantees and among staff and Board to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  We believe that putting people first in our concern will ensure support to our community and that we may emerge strong after this crisis. Our grantees are within about 10 African countries and work on conservation science. Our typical grant supports a $250,000, 3-year project. We are happy to share this short survey that we sent to 24 grantees, 22 in Africa, and 2 in the U.K. As a testament to the urgency and importance of the issue, we received a 100% response within 48 hours.  Though the survey was short, the survey platform (Microsoft Forms) reported that respondents spent about one hour considering their answers.  That time suggests that our survey may have helped to advance the thinking and planning of our project directors.

The survey was intentionally designed to ask open answer questions regarding impact and adaptation before asking for a semi-quantitative forecast of the impact in the next month and the next 3 months of the pandemic.  Then, we asked how our foundation could be of support and how our programmatic work (data and information systems) could address their local COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, we asked a more personal and open question about concerns. We asked brief questions and deliberately avoided any request for formal reporting or planning. We believe this tool can scale to foundations with many more grantees.

The survey results have been invaluable to an early understanding of the mission-impacts and financial-impacts of COVID-19 upon our grantee partners and our foundation. We have a better understanding of the potential impacts on a project level and a portfolio level, and we can identify ways to serve the needs of individual projects.  Half of our funded projects already believe that they will be at less than 50% effectiveness over the next quarter; we expect that to worsen. The survey results also enable us to design a general response of small grants for emergency infrastructure and long-term financial support and project extension.  As Seattle has experienced the pandemic almost two weeks before our African partners, we have also been able to share personal experiences of response.  This first survey will act as an essential baseline, and we expect to resurvey in several weeks.  Our approach is one of ‘people first.’  If we can show generosity, grace, and compassion for the circumstances of our team and partners, we can help to protect our people and their work.

Below is the survey that was distributed via a link to a one-page survey in Microsoft Forms.

JRS Grantee COVID19 Response Short Survey

The intent of this survey is to help JRS serve you as we all navigate the COVID19 pandemic together. JRS will support you, work to simplify reporting, and ensure smooth payments. Your quick reply to this survey will help us respond to your needs. Let us know the questions to ask to understand your situation.

1. Your Name

2. Your organization

3. Are you working remotely?

    • Yes
    • No

4. Is your institution open?

    • Yes as usual.
    • Yes and only remote work allowed.
    • No.
    • Other ___________

5.  How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work? Please include indirect impacts, e.g. transportation and family care. {Open Answer}

6.  Can you or have you put adaptive measures in place to mitigate or minimize the COVID-19 impact? {Open Answer}

7.  In the next 4 weeks, what % of the work, that you planned, do you expect to continue? {Open Answer}

    • 0-25%
    • 26%-50%
    • 51%-75%
    • 76%-100%

8. In the next 3 months, what % of the work, that you planned, do you expect to continue?

    • 0-25%
    • 26%-50%
    • 51%-75%
    • 76%-100%

9. How can we help you to alleviate your challenges in the circumstances? {Open Answer}

10.  Can the tool of informatics help to address COVID19 in your country? What opportunities are there? {Open Answer}

Note: Number #10 above is specific to our work. It is the question: “How can the work of your organization help to address COVID-19 in your country? What opportunities are there?

11. Considering all that is going on, what are you major concerns? {Open Answer}


Please let us know if this has been helpful to you, please share with others and let us know what changes you have made!  Contact us at info @  We wish you the very best of comfort and safety through this difficult time.