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How CDC Foundation Raises and Distributes Funds to Support Critical Global Health Initiatives in More Than 100 Countries


While the pandemic has made in-person community building a near impossibility this year, it’s reinforced the importance of a strong global community in the race for a vaccine. As we look to collaboratively tackle one of the greatest global health crises of our time, comprehensive public health initiatives, effective grantmaking, and innovative fundraising will be critical to our success.

The CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization established by Congress, is at the forefront of these efforts. The nonprofit is leading worldwide COVID-19 relief efforts through its fundraising and grantmaking by forging critical partnerships between philanthropic organizations and private-sector resources with public health stakeholders. “Our mission is to help the Center for Disease Control and Prevention do more, faster by forging partnerships. Public-private partnerships are core to the CDC Foundation,” said Dr. Judy Monroe, CDC Foundation President and CEO, on a recent episode of Leading Through Change.

The CDC Foundation is the go-to nonprofit authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private-sector resources to support CDC’s critical health protection mission. The  organization plays an essential role in public health initiatives around the world through its fundraising and grantmaking, managing hundreds of CDC-led programs in the United States and in more than 140 countries last year.

Grantmaking on a global scale

In its 25 year history, CDC Foundation has raised over $1 billion and launched more than 1,000 programs impacting a variety of health threats from chronic disease conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, to infectious diseases like rotavirus and HIV, to emergency responses, including COVID-19 and Ebola.To do work like this on such a large scale, the organization uses Salesforce to get a 360-degree view of its global nonprofit partners, raise critical fundraising dollars, and distribute grants that support important public health initiatives worldwide.

In addition to having dedicated philanthropic partners like the CDC Foundation, the key to delivering life-saving funds sooner and accelerating impact faster is revolutionizing the cumbersome grantmaking process.’s new Grants Management product is a comprehensive solution designed to streamline this often-complex process. The tool will help grantmakers to track, manage, and deliver funds more quickly, while making it easier for grantseekers to find and apply for funds.

And delivering funds faster is even more important this year as nonprofits are seeing the demand for their services at an al-ltime high in the wake of the devastating pandemic. With that demand comes a need for more resources, and a robust solution that can help streamline the process and deploy critical funds faster. 

And like all things in 2020, organizations of all types rely heavily on data to understand the effectiveness of their efforts.’s new Grants Management tool makes it easy for nonprofits to share how they’re using funds and the outcomes they’re seeing as a result.

By reducing administrative tasks, simplifying the application and disbursement processes, and making it easier than ever before for grantees to engage, Grants Management will help grantmakers deliver vital resources while building long-lasting connections with the organizations they fund. Building those connections before disaster strikes is something that Monroe says is hugely important, “Public-private partnerships are built on relationships, and those relationships need to be built in non-emergency times.”

Building long-term resilience with a digital infrastructure

A strong digital foundation is imperative for the CDC Foundation to effectively fulfill its critical health protection mission. The organization started their digital transformation journey a few years ago with Nonprofit Cloud and the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) to unify all aspects of their fundraising. But fundraising is only one piece of the larger puzzle — after all, it’s hard to fundraise if you’re not able to reach donors effectively. In conjunction with Nonprofit Cloud and NPSP, the CDC Foundation also utilizes Marketing Cloud and Journey Builder to personalize their marketing communications efforts.

We went from a donor database of 42,000 donors to over 150,000 in just a few months, and individual giving increased by 2,403%, all tracked through Salesforce. We needed this fully-integrated CRM system to handle that.

Dr. Judy Monroe

“For the CDC Foundation to be able to respond to the pandemic, we made a decision a few years ago to build our data capacity. I have to give a shoutout to Salesforce as a big part of this effort. We had a CRM prior, but it wasn’t integrated and it wasn’t in the cloud,” Monroe said. 

The Foundation wouldn’t have been able to handle the steep increase in traffic and donations at the onset of the pandemic without the robust digital foundation they’d built, she explained, “When we switched to Salesforce, that technology transformation made it possible for us to handle this new normal. We went from a donor database of 42,000 donors to over 150,000 in just a few months, and individual giving increased by 2,403%, all tracked through Salesforce. We needed this fully-integrated CRM system to handle that.”

With such pressing immediate needs, it’s easy to focus solely on what’s right in front of us. Fortunately, seasoned professionals like the team at the CDC Foundation know that a comprehensive solution to any problem — especially one on this scale — requires long-term planning.

“As far as our priorities are concerned, right now our number one priority is working with partners to help end the pandemic,” said Monroe.  She emphasized that the CDC Foundation is looking at the acute issues of the pandemic, while also looking long range. “What’s important is ensuring we are able to take on COVID-19 and other health threats, as well as address priorities such as modernizing public health data systems to us is data modernization, building greater global health security, and taking on health equity challenges,” she said.

Dr. Judy Monroe (bottom right) talked about the CDC Foundation’s work on a recent episode of Leading Through Change.

In the global race for a vaccine, strategic partnerships — now and in the future — will be critical. “The distribution of the vaccine is daunting. It’s one of the largest efforts we’ve ever seen in public health in history, and we’ll need all hands on deck,” Monroe said. “We’re all in this together.”

Disasters reveal opportunities for change, and they’re often punctuated by accelerated periods of growth. As technology companies innovate and nonprofits and grantmakers realize their capacity for digital transformation, tools like’s Grants Management platform will change how nonprofits, grantmakers, and the social sector can partner to amplify their impact and drive change.

Learn more about the important work the CDC Foundation is doing during the pandemic.


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