The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation announced its strategy for philanthropic funds to support community disaster response for COVID-19.
On March 17, 2020 the Community Foundation opened the Disaster Response Fund which is being renamed the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund. Contributions from individuals or organizations are being accepted to this fund online at www.gcrcf.org. This fund was originally established in partnership with United Way of East Central Iowa and The Hall-Perrine Foundation. Since then, four businesses including Alliant Energy Foundation, Collins Aerospace, MidAmerican Energy, and United Fire Group have provided lead gifts as well as donors including Loren and Patti Coppock and Duane and Laura Smith.
The COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund has two purposes – first, to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in our community through rapid response grants to partners where resources are most needed, and second, to address human service needs for vulnerable populations such as children, older adults, and the homeless. In order to distribute timely grants, initial funding will be recommended based on information gathered from community meetings and conversations through Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster. Going forward, a committee of advisors will guide grantmaking from the fund. As the situation evolves, other grantmaking process options will be considered depending on available funds and community needs.
In addition, in early April the Community Foundation will solicit grant applications from nonprofit organizations for COVID-19 needs and organizational sustainability needs. These grants will be awarded from existing unrestricted funds at the Community Foundation. Furthermore, the Community Foundation has informed all 2019 grant recipients to utilize funding they received in that year where it is most needed at their organizations.
The Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Network program is providing resources and virtual peer meetings for nonprofit professionals to provide connection and information, and to encourage collaboration throughout the sector.
“Philanthropy can be a critical part of ensuring our community’s long-term recovery,” says Karla Twedt-Ball, Senior Vice President, Programs and Community Investment at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. “Our grant strategy will continue to evolve as we leverage resources, learn about emerging needs and opportunities, and build partnerships to best support our communities.”
A high demand for funding during this crisis is anticipated. The Community Foundation will provide resources where they are most needed and will adapt to evolving needs, particularly those not being met by existing nonprofit, local, state and federal programs.
The Community Foundation encourages donors to continue to give to the nonprofits they regularly support. “While charitable giving is gravitating to corona-virus-related efforts, donors should continue to follow normal giving patterns to the nonprofits they care about,” says Karla. “The nonprofit sector is a critical part of our economy and community vibrancy and many may struggle to maintain operations during this time.”
To give to the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund, click here.
To learn more about how the Community Foundation is distributing resources, click here.
To view COVID-19 Resources and Support for nonprofits, click here.