First Grants Allocated from COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund

Published: April 9, 2020 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

Today the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation announces the first grants allocated from the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund.

The COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund was established by the Community Foundation in partnership with United Way of East Central Iowa and The Hall Perrine Foundation in mid-March. Since then, 28 gifts have been made to the fund from businesses, organizations and individuals – including three more lead gifts this week from Wells Fargo, Phil and Christy Rezin and Pat and Judy Baird. The current balance of the fund is over $282,000.

The COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund provides rapid response grants to partners working to minimize the immediate impact of COVID-19 for our community and funding for human service needs for our most vulnerable populations including children, older adults and the homeless.

The first two grant recipients to receive funding this week include St. Luke’s Healthcare Foundation and Willis Dady Homeless Services. Many more grants are already under consideration and will be awarded from the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund in the coming days and weeks. Grant recipients, award amounts, and a description of the grant purpose will be updated regularly here.

The St. Luke’s Healthcare Foundation will receive a $2,500 grant to provide over 1,600 masks to St. Luke’s Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, and area care facilities. Specifically, the funding will be used to purchase materials for community volunteers to sew the masks using the unique patterns that both hospitals have requested for their healthcare workers.

The second grant recipient, Willis Dady Homeless Services, will receive $2,500 to house homeless individuals who have COVID-19 or who have been exposed and need to be quarantined. The grant will cover extra staffing needed to support the quarantine protocol to serve the homeless population.

“So far, three clients have been quarantined with flu-like symptoms,” said Phoebe Trepp, Executive Director at Willis Dady Homeless Services. “We are working with the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, and Waypoint Services to find spaces to quarantine those who need it. Our staff are working very hard to protect our clients and the people in our community.” Willis Dady has delayed closing the winter overflow shelter and is also maintaining its traditional shelter. Both have moved from 12 hours a day to 24, allowing clients to refrain from going into public. This, plus a new shortage in volunteers as people stay home, has created a significant increase in staffing needs. The grant will assist with extra staffing expenses.

In addition to the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund, the Community Foundation announced last week a grant opportunity in April to help nonprofit organizations sustain and maintain essential functions, and to help maintain a safety net for vulnerable populations. The funds will be distributed from the unrestricted Funds for the Community held at the Community Foundation. Applications are due April 15, 2020 and funding will be distributed yet this month. More information, including the application and requirements can be found here.

“We know there will be a high demand for funding during this crisis,” said Les Garner, President & CEO, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.  “We are working with many nonprofits and community partners to provide resources where they are most needed. We know these needs will continue to evolve over the coming months. Private philanthropy can help address emergent needs and fill gaps that are not being met by other resources.”

Charitable giving is essential right now to help sustain nonprofits and to support community members in need. Contributions are encouraged to local nonprofit organizations or to the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund here.

To learn more about how to give or how the Community Foundation is allocating resources, visit here.

To view a list of lead supporters of the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund, visit here.

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