April 9, 2020 — United Way of Lane County has named the first 27 local nonprofits to receive funding from its COVID-19 Community Response Fund. The Response Fund, established three weeks ago, was created to support local nonprofits’ efforts assisting those most affected by COVID-19 in Lane County. This is the first of four rounds of funding United Way will distribute over the next few months.
In total, $64,500 will be invested in local programs through this first round of funding. Funds will specifically support COVID-19 response efforts such as expanding basic needs services in rural communities; technology supports for vulnerable populations’ health needs; rental assistance for immigrant families; and more.
The following nonprofits serving the Siuslaw region will each receive $2,500 this week in COVID-19 Response Funding through this first round of funding:
• Florence Food Share for emergency food boxes for community members on palliative care.
• Food Backpacks for Kids for nutritional food bags for up to 110 at risk students in the Florence and Mapleton communities.
• Mapleton Food Share for food for 100 families in the Mapleton area.
The 24 other nonprofits receiving funding include:
• Bethel Education Foundation
• CASA of Lane County
• Catholic Community Services
• Catholic Community Services Refugee and Immigrant Program
• Center for Community Counseling
• Centro Latino Americano
• Coast Fork Watershed Council
• Community Sharing
• CORE Eugene
• First Baptist Oakridge ($500)
• Food for Lane County
• Junction City Local Aid
• McKenzie Food Pantry
• McKenzie Valley Wellness ($1,500)
• Mid Lane Cares
• Oregon Community Programs
• Planned Parenthood
• Rural Organizing Project
• The ARC
• Volunteers in Medicine Clinic
• White Bird Clinic
As one of the funded agencies, Centro Latino Americano identified the heightened financial pressures within immigrant communities at this time.
“All Lane County residents deserve to be able to care for themselves and their families during this pandemic,” said David Saez, Executive Director of Centro Latino Americano. “Unfortunately, while immigrant Oregonians contribute to our economy by working and paying taxes, they and their families have no access to federal emergency benefits. Thanks to the United Way of Lane County’s Community Response Fund, we can make sure that the most vulnerable know they will not be left behind. They will be able to find help to pay rent, pay for groceries, or pay their utility bill. The awarding of these funds is a clear example of how a community steps up and takes care of each other, no matter who they are."
CASA of Lane County similarly shared how this new funding will help ensure those they serve aren’t left behind during this pandemic.
“In times of crisis, children are extremely vulnerable,” shared CASA’s Executive Director, Heather Murphy. “While social distancing is important for children, families, volunteers and staff, connection is more important than ever. CASA volunteers are working hard to maintain strong connections with the children that we serve. This grant from United Way is helping to facilitate expanded virtual visits. We want to make certain that nothing falls through the cracks for children and youth in a time when they need extra support and reassurance.” At this time, in-person visits with children in state custody have been suspended.
In total, 65 agencies applied for funding in the first round, with requests totaling $157,000, quickly surpassing the approximate $100,000 United Way had raised at the time.
To make these grants possible, community volunteers came together quickly to review applications and make funding recommendations to United Way of Lane County’s Board of Directors. Because rapid access to funding was a priority in this process, volunteers and board members acted quickly and thoughtfully — reviewing, deciding on and responding to all requests within one week of the application deadline.
United Way anticipates many more applications will continue to pour in.
“This moment is an opportunity for people across Lane County to better understand how we are all affected when some of us lack the protections of a safety net,” said Mo Young, Equity and Access Coordinator with Lane County and review panelist for the COVID-19 Response Fund. “I am grateful that United Way, with many of its partners and donors, created this fund. I can’t say that I am surprised that the level of need outweighed the resources available, but I can say that it is tough making the decision of who to fund this time and who should wait.”
Nonprofits whose grant proposals were not funded in the first round were encouraged to apply again.
“We are sympathetic to the great need, and grateful for the outpouring of donations from the community,” said Joel Rosenburg, community volunteer and review panelist. “As I speak, more funds are coming in and more requests will be honored.”
The COVID-19 Community Response Fund was launched March 20 with seed funding of $50,000 from PacificSource Health Plans, and subsequent donations from Oregon Community Foundation ($45,000), Oregon Community Credit Union Foundation ($10,000), and many other generous businesses, foundations, and individuals.
Donations are still being accepted to help meet the many other requests United Way has since received, and will continue to receive over the next few months.
100 percent of funds raised for the COVID-19 Community Response Fund will be invested through these grants; United Way waived its general “support of service” fee for this fund.
United Way of Lane County is continuing to raise funds for its existing funded partners for their ongoing and day-to-day work.
Those interested in contributing to United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund can do so at www.unitedwaylane.org/covid-19-fund.
Meanwhile, nonprofits interested in applying for future rounds of funding can find the application at www.unitedwaylane.org/response-fund-application. The next three rounds of deadlines are April 13, April 27 and May 11.
In addition to establishing the Community Response Fund, United Way of Lane County is assessing and addressing local needs by encouraging Lane County nonprofits to fill out a short survey about current volunteer and in-kind needs; encouraging community members to get involved with volunteer and in-kind donation opportunities posted on United Way’s Volunteer United website, and offering information and resources for individuals and families seeking support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more, visit www.unitedwaylane.org.