COVID-19 Daily News

Community Foundation Makes Grants of $700,000 Through COVID-19 Response Fund

SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) announced the release of its first grants, totaling $700,000, to community organizations and nonprofits from its recently-established COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley.

The fund has raised $2,480,000 from local philanthropic and business organizations and over 50 individuals. The first round of funding to support local response to the crisis includes $190,000 to distribute food through the region’s system of food pantries; $120,000 to address the needs of vulnerable elders, including home-delivered meals; $120,000 to provide critical health services and outreach through the Valley’s federally designated Community Health Centers; $150,000 to provide shelter for those without homes and those impacted by domestic violence; and $120,000 to provide flexible supports to the region’s lowest-income families and individuals.

Organizations receiving funding include Caring Health Center, Catholic Charities Agency – Diocese of Springfield, Center for Human Development, Community Action Pioneer Valley, Community Health Center of Franklin County, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Friends of the Homeless (Clinical & Support Options), Greater Springfield Senior Services, Highland Valley Elder Services, Hilltown Community Health Center, Holyoke Health Center, LifePath, New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, Safe Passage, ServiceNet, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Springfield Rescue Mission, Valley Opportunity Council, WestMass ElderCare, Womanshelter Companeras, and YWCA of Western Massachusetts.

According to Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, more grants are expected to be announced and released this week to respond to emerging needs.

“These initial grants will support urgent and immediate needs of those most vulnerable and adversely affected by this unprecedented crisis and those who have been most impacted by inequity,” she said. “Through the generosity of our community and the establishment of this response fund, we are helping those in need living in the 69 cities and towns that make up Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties.”

Zobel said next week’s round of grants will likely include health services to organizations serving those with particular health vulnerabilities due to factors such as mental illness, compromised immune systems, or addiction. 

Given the long-term impact of the crisis and the evolving community needs, CFWM and its partners will continue to raise funds and make grants over the next several months. “We are encouraging our business community and individuals to consider contributing to the fund as the urgent needs for support continues to grow,” Zobel said.

Entities contributing to the fund thus far include bankESB; Berkshire Bank; Beveridge Family Foundation; Big Y; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation; Dietz & Co. Architects; Greenfield Cooperative Bank/Northampton Cooperative Bank; Keady, Foard, Montemagni, UBS Wealth Management; MassMutual; PeoplesBank; TD Charitable Foundation; and Westfield Bank.

In subsequent phases, grants will be made to address needs of nonprofit organizations that have been financially impacted by the crisis.

The Community Foundation welcomes additional donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. Gifts can be made online at communityfoundation.org/coronavirus-donations.

“The COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley is designed to pool community giving and apply the Community Foundation’s expertise and experience to make grants that help our community effectively respond to the crisis” Zobel said. “During this time, we also encourage our community members to give directly to those nonprofits you know and trust that are being impacted now or that are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.”

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