CEDAR RAPIDS — A local philanthropic foundation has announced a strategy to provide financial support for Cedar Rapids-area nonprofit agencies struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund has been established with the intent of minimizing the impact of COVID-19 in the community through rapid response grants for organizations in greatest needs. Second, the fund would target human service needs for vulnerable populations such as children, older adults, and the homeless, according to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, which is a lead agency in the effort.
“Philanthropy can be a critical part of ensuring our community’s long-term recovery,” said 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.”
High demand is expected for support and needs. Individuals or organizations can contribute to this fund online at www.gcrcf.org.
Through today, the fund has $222,225 and additional contributions are in the pipeline.
The fund is in partnership with United Way of East Central Iowa and The Hall-Perrine Foundation, while Alliant Energy Foundation, Collins Aerospace, MidAmerican Energy, and United Fire Group have provided “lead gifts,” according to a news release. Loren and Patti Coppock and Duane and Laura Smith were also named donors.
Initial grants will be recommended based on information gathered from community meetings and conversations through Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster, according to the Foundation. These conversations have focused on responding to immediate needs such as protective equipment for health care workers, delivery of meals, child care for essential workers, and promoting social distancing and good hygiene, said Corrine Ramler, vice president of marketing and communication for the agency.
Initial funding could be released in the coming weeks, Ramler said.
An advisory committee will guide a next round of grants for nonprofits, which would involve applications. The fund is intended to adapt to evolving needs, particularly those not being met by existing nonprofit, local, state and federal programs, according to the Community Foundation.
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“As the situation evolves, other grantmaking process options will be considered depending on available funds and community needs,” according to a news release from the Community Foundation.
In early April the Community Foundation will solicit grant applications from nonprofit organizations for COVID-19 needs and organizational sustainability needs using existing restricted funds at the Community Foundation. The Community Foundation has also told previous grant recipients to use those grants where the needs are greatest.
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.
“While charitable giving is gravitating to corona-virus-related efforts, donors should continue to follow normal giving patterns to the nonprofits they care about,” Twedt-Ball said. “The nonprofit sector is a critical part of our economy and community vibrancy and many may struggle to maintain operations during this time.”
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