Giving and Responding in the Wake of Dual Disasters

Published: April 2, 2021 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

When COVID-19 began impacting life in Linn County a year ago, it was difficult to imagine the challenges that lay ahead. On August 10, those challenges were exacerbated when winds in excess of 100 mph tore through Eastern Iowa. Support came in from all over the country, but much of the assistance was local. Area businesses and residents, even while recovering themselves, were eager to help.

Still, things have not been easy in the months since. Having concurrent disasters created new and unique challenges for the people and organizations that keep our community thriving. Nonprofits have had to reimagine the way they provide services while cancelling or altering fundraisers and other events. Health and human service agencies have seen both reduced revenue and increased demand for services.

“Our community has been through a lot recently, and the derecho could have been demoralizing,” said Michelle Beisker, Senior Vice President of Development. “But the people of Linn County are resilient and generous, and they proved that once again.”

COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund

Despite everyone in our community being impacted by the virus, many jumped at the chance to help. With lead gifts from several area businesses and support from more than 200 donors, the COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund eventually brought in nearly $450,000. To date, $368,534 has been granted to 40 organizations.

Grants from this fund have supported access to basic human needs—everything from food and housing to information distribution and transportation for essential workers. Priority has been given to vulnerable populations, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The fund will continue to accept applications until all funds have been granted.

Disaster Recovery Fund for Derecho

Within one week of the storm, the Community Foundation was able to establish the Disaster Recovery Fund. More than 1,800 donors have contributed over $2 million to the fund so far, which has granted nearly $443,000 to local nonprofits. The first phase of grants helped meet some of the most basic needs, including food, water, and shelter. In the six months since the storm, the fund has supported a variety of recovery efforts, including programs that provide legal assistance, mental health services, housing repair, and many other services.

The Disaster Recovery Fund continues to accept applications and make grants to programs and projects that aid the long-term recovery of the community. To make a gift to this fund, click here. To apply for a grant, click here.

Visit the Nonprofit Giving Center and the Nonprofit Calendar to search for a nonprofit fund, organization, cause, or event to support.