Disaster Funds Offer Hope, Thanks to Kindness of Donors

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

As a community foundation, we are here to respond to our community’s changing needs and challenges. In 2020, as Linn County faced two concurrent disasters, that flexibility and responsiveness was more important than ever.

When the pandemic arrived in Eastern Iowa, many nonprofits faced multiple new challenges. Besides having to cancel fundraisers and alter programming, many organizations were also dealing with increased demand for services. As more people sought mental health services, educational assistance, economic relief and healthcare, among other things, additional strain was placed on our nonprofit sector.

In March, the Community Foundation established the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund to help meet the health and human service needs brought on by the pandemic. Since then, hundreds of donors and businesses have contributed more than $422,141.

To date, $317,300 has been granted to nearly 40 organizations, providing food, shelter, education, and mental health services, and focusing primarily on vulnerable populations. Additional funding priorities are informed by the coordination efforts of Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster (LAP-AID).

On August 10, a derecho swept through the area, upending lives and increasing the challenges faced by the organizations serving our community. Recovery from the storm—already sure to be a long and expensive process—was made more difficult by public health concerns and social distancing requirements. The Disaster Recovery Fund was established to help meet the basic needs of those disproportionately impacted and to fund long-term recovery efforts.

Since then, 1,762 donors from all 50 states and three countries contributed to the Disaster Recovery Fund, which has now raised over $1,903,348.

Within one week of the storm, the Disaster Recovery Fund began making grants to local organizations that were providing food, water and shelter to those most affected by the storm. As cleanup continues amid the pandemic and cooling weather, the fund has been responding to the changing needs of recovery efforts. To date, more than $376,239 has been granted into the community to aid response and recovery.

Both the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund and the Disaster Recovery Fund remain open for contributions and grant applications.

To donate to a disaster fund, click here.

To apply for a grant from a disaster fund, click here.

To view a list of grants made from the disaster funds, click here.

To view a list of lead supporters of the Disaster Recovery Fund, click here.

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


Disaster Grantmaking: Nonprofits Rise to the Challenge

His Hands Free Clinic

When the pandemic caused the cancellation of both of its major fundraisers, His Hands Free Clinic turned to local donors and funders. “It is through working together that we provide the biggest impact for our community,” said Dawn Brouwer, Executive Director. A grant of $14,242 from the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund has helped the clinic serve those in need of medical care, including a large number of patients with mental health needs exacerbated by the pandemic and derecho.

Salvation Army

Despite damage to their own facility, Salvation Army was serving the community the day after the derecho. In the following weeks, mobile kitchens served thousands of meals, and emergency food boxes replaced food lost due to power outages. A $20,000 grant from the Disaster Recovery Fund has helped the Salvation Army provide food and emergency financial assistance for those impacted by the storm.

Alzheimer’s Association

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is challenging, and the pandemic has made it even more so. A $3,825 grant from the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund helped Alzheimer’s Association provide virtual programming. “Our support groups, care consultations and education programs are more important now than ever as they provide much needed support for caregivers facing challenges keeping their loved ones safe and healthy during this unprecedented time,” said Julie Coppock, Development Director.

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