CORONAVIRUS

Willis Dady, St. Luke's Foundation receive first local coronavirus grants

Volunteers set up cots in November at the home overflow shelter at the Fillmore Center in northwest Cedar Rapids. Willis
Volunteers set up cots in November at the home overflow shelter at the Fillmore Center in northwest Cedar Rapids. Willis Dady Homeless Services, which operates the shelter, is one of the first recipients of a grant from the local COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund. Willis Dady reports three of its residents have tested positive for COVID-19. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has awarded the first two grants from its COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund.

Willis Dady Homeless Services and St. Luke’s Healthcare Foundation will receive $2,500 each to support immediate needs responding to the coronavirus.

“We know there will be a high demand for funding during this crisis,” Les Garner, president & CEO of the Community Foundation, said in a news release. “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.”

The Response Fund was established in mid-March and has grown to more than $282,000 through 28 donations from businesses and individuals. The Community Foundation created the Fund in partnership with United Way of East Central Iowa and the Hall Perrine Foundation.

The St. Luke’s Healthcare Foundation will use its grant to provide 1,600 masks to local health care facilities, including UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center. The money will be used to purchase materials so volunteers can sew the masks.

Willis Dady plans to use the money for extra staffing to support housing homeless people who have contracted the virus or have been exposed and need to be isolated.

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“So far, three clients have been quarantined with flu-like symptoms,” Phoebe Trepp, executive director at Willis Dady, said in a news release. “We are working with the city of Cedar Rapids, Linn County and Waypoint Services to find spaces to quarantine those who need it.”

Operations at the program’s winter overflow shelter have been extended through Aprli, and Willis Dady also maintains it traditional shelter. Both shelters have transitioned from 12 to 24 hours a day so clients can avoid going into public, putting a strain on staffing.

Applications for other grants to support nonprofits are due April 15 with funding distributed before the end of April.

For more information, go to GCRCF.org and follow the nonprofit grants link on the home page.

United Way of East Central Iowa also has established a CARE Fund to meet emerging needs from COVID-19. More information is available at UWECI.org/covid-19-care-fund.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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