Community raises emergency funds for COVID-19 response

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In response to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, community members are collecting funds to help support local nonprofits on the front lines of responding to the crisis.

As of March 27, 121 people have donated to the Jefferson County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, raising $142,000.

This fund is organized by the Jefferson Community Foundation, which formed a grantmaking team to distribute the funds.

“Right now our focus is local non-profits and need-serving government agencies,” said Siobhan Canty, president of the Jefferson Community Foundation. “But we expect over time the needs of the community will change.”

Nonprofits are on the forefront of preventing poverty and homelessness, and ensuring community members get the care they need during the coronavirus crisis.

Government agencies, such as schools and the public health department, are also providing critical care in the form of delivered meals and patient testing during this time.

Last week, Jefferson Community Foundation rolled out the first round of grant applications. By the time the grantmaking team met on March 27, five applications had been received.

The team considered all grant requests and all five were fully funded for a total distribution of $32,750.

The first round of grants includes:

  • Dove House Advocacy Services: $15,000 to establish a Rapid Response Rental Assistance Fund dedicated to helping people who, without immediate financial assistance, might otherwise fall into homelessness or long-term debt from which they could not recover.
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of East Jefferson County: $10,000 to expand emergency financial assistance for individuals and families.
  • The Benji Project: $3,750 to teach stress relief, connection and coping practices as well as mindfulness and self-compassion for isolated teens twice weekly through June 2020. These will be delivered for free via Zoom.
  • The Jefferson County Food Bank Network: $3,000 to purchase produce and stackable boxes, making it easier to accommodate drive-up food pick-ups.
  • Quilcene and Brinnon Weekend Nutrition Program: $1,000 to increase its weekend food program for youth in response to a recent 17% increase in users.

Applications to receive grant funding are accepted on a rolling basis and available online at JCFGives.org. Those received by mid-day Wednesday will be considered by the weekly Emergency Response Grantmaking Team on Friday mornings. Allocations are then sent to grantees within two business days. Organizations can apply for grants multiple times.

“We are mapping out the landscape of services on a weekly basis and that information is being used to direct where these funds will go,” Canty said.

The grantmaking team includes: Meredith Wagner, former executive director of the Jefferson County Libraries District; Kathleen Kler, former county commissioner District 3; Jean Baldwin, former director of health at the Jefferson County Public Health Department; and Rose Lincoln Hamilton, chair of the Board of Jefferson Community Foundation.

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