The Bloomingtonian

Press release: COVID-19 Relief Grants Announced by Community Funders

COVID-19 Relief Grants Announced by Community Funders 

Emergency funding to uplift crucial nonprofit services during economic distress associated with the virus 

Bloomington, IN – In a coordinated Phase 1 response to community needs, United Way of Monroe County, Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, and the Bloomington Health Foundation have distributed 33 grants to 26 local nonprofit organizations, totaling more than $333,000. The funds will be used to support immediate economic stability and basic needs, as well as the continuation of the function of local nonprofit organizations. 

United Way COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund 

The United Way COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund has granted $298,175 to 16 human service organizations providing critical services serving people in Monroe, Owen, and Greene counties.   

With support from the COVID-19 Fund, these organizations can continue to provide life-changing services to members of our community affected by the pandemic. Priority needs for the fund focused on sustaining operations of agencies meeting community members’ basic needs, developing safe and temporary residential programs for at-risk individuals served by area shelters, and maintaining or increasing the capacity of local food security systems.   

Phase 1 grant recipients include: 

  • All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center – $2,500 
  • American Red Cross Southeast Indiana Chapter – $1,500 
  • Amethyst House – $15,000 
  • Area 10 Agency on Aging – $20,000 
  • Bloomington Meals on Wheels – $7,000 
  • Catholic Charities Bloomington – $15,000 
  • Community Kitchen – $4,175 
  • El Centro Comunal Latino – $12,000 
  • Hoosier Hills Food Bank – $50,000 
  • Middle Way House – $20,000 
  • The Monroe County Food Train – $5,750 
  • Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard – $20,000 
  • New Leaf – New Life – $6,000 
  • Pantry 279, Inc. – $15,000 
  • Pantry 279, Inc. – $15,000 
  • Shalom Community Center (for community isolation shelter) – $70,000 

From purchasing diapers and supporting critical domestic violence services to home delivery of meals to elderly and services to those in addiction recovery, the grants will be used to fund priority needs. Catholic Charities Bloomington plans to use the grant to offer online-based mental health services to adults, families, and children during this time of adjustment and uncertainty. Pantry 279 will use the funds to support the four-fold increase of individuals experiencing food insecurity in Ellettsville and the surrounding communities during the pandemic. The American Red Cross Southeast Indiana Chapter will use funds to support all possible blood donations, as the pandemic has caused a significant blood shortage due to cancelled blood drives and other events. Wheeler Missions plans to hire temporary emergency shelter staff in response to decreased help from their volunteer base.  

The $70,000 granted to a collaborative project between Shalom Community Center, New Hope for Families, Wheeler Mission, Middle Way House, and Monroe County Health Department will fund a coordinated and secure safe isolation shelter space for individuals currently in mass shelters, a resource previously unavailable in our community.  

“We are awed, but not surprised, by the quick generosity of organizations, businesses, and individuals in our community. It’s inspiring to see everyone coming together for the good of all. And we are equally impressed how nonprofits serving vulnerable people creatively designed, in a matter of days, new ways to serve and support vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way of Monroe County is honored to work with our partners to fulfill our mission of bringing together the caring power of our community to help those in need,” said Executive Director Efrat Feferman. 

A committee of cross-sector community partners identified critical needs and resource gaps to guide decisions regarding the COVID-19 Fund. The granting committee includes representatives from the Bloomington Health Foundation, City of Bloomington, Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, Monroe County Government, Indiana University, and United Way of Monroe County. 

“We’re seeing food workers, Lyft drivers, and others who have lost their jobs or wages, people new to food pantries, in addition to those who rely on us in order to get by; there have been lines down the road for the drive-through pick-up,” said Cindy Chavez, Director of Pantry 279 in Ellettsville. “This help is incredible, and much needed.” 

The fund received more than $700,000 in grant requests from 30 organizations. 

Fund supporters include Bloomington Health Foundation, Bloomington Township, Boston Scientific, City of Bloomington, Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, Cook Medical, Duke Energy, First Financial Bank, Hoosier Energy, IU Credit Union, Monroe County Government, Old National Bank, Owen County State Bank, Perry Township, private individuals, Tim Ellis Realtors, Truist Foundation, United Way of Monroe County, United Way Worldwide, and Van Buren Township. 

Community Foundation Rapid Response Grants 

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted a total of $32,522 in Rapid Response grants to 17 Monroe County nonprofit organizations. This grant opportunity was established to immediately support Monroe County nonprofits with grants of up to $2,500 through a streamlined 24-hour evaluation process. 

These funds will be used immediately for supplies, equipment, remote-work technology, staffing, and to enable nonprofits to sustain capacity to serve our community during this challenging time. 

Grant recipients include: 

  • All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center – $1,000 
  •  American Red Cross Southeast Indiana Chapter – $2,500 
  •  Bloomington Playwrights Project – $2,500 
  •  Bloomington Symphony Orchestra – $2,333 
  •  Community Kitchen of Monroe County – $2,500 
  • Courage to Change Sober Living – $1,530 
  • Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County – $2,500 
  • Healthnet – $1,180 
  • Hoosier Hills Food Bank – $1,000 
  • Middle Way House – $2,500 
  • Monroe County History Center – $735 
  • Monroe County United Ministries – $2,500 
  • Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard – $1,950 
  • New Leaf New Life – $2,500 
  • People and Animal Learning Services – $2,000 
  • WFHB – $1,494 
  • WonderLab – $1,800 

To date, The Community Foundation has received 32 Rapid Response grant requests totaling more than $66,000 in requested funds. 

“The Community Foundation is proud to be working in parallel with our philanthropic partners to address the emergent needs of local organizations during this early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson. “Both the large grant the Foundation made to the United Way COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and the Rapid Response Grants the Foundation delivered to nonprofits last week are meant to ensure that essential organizations have the capacity to lean in during this time of crisis. The Foundation is exploring every possibility for creatively deploying its resources to support those who call our community home.” 

Bloomington Health Foundation COVID-19 Grants 

The Bloomington Health Foundation (BHF) invested $25,000 in seed funding and strategic support for the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, in addition to a $25,000 match incentive for individual donations from community members. BHF also funded hand washing stations for Wheeler Mission and Shalom Community Center, in conjunction with the Monroe County Health Department, to curb the spread of COVID-19 among those experiencing homelessness. Additionally, in partnership with Master Rental, BHF funded a tent, tables, chairs, and heaters for Wheeler Mission to provide space for social distancing.  
 
HelpingBloomingtonMonroe.org, an online social services database with over 1,800 program listings, also launched last month in a partnership between BHF, the City of Bloomington, and the Local Council of Women. This resource allows individuals or caregivers to find assistance, including COVID-19 specific assistance, quickly and discreetly from the safety of their own home.  
 
“We’re one of the many problem-solvers who join in a fight to make our community successful by making it healthy and we’re proud to join forces with other passionate people to tackle the tough problems COVID-19 presents,” said BHF President and CEO, Jon Barada. “This initial lead gift from the Bloomington Health Foundation is a step to help secure essential services in this time of crisis.” 
 

Phase II COVID-19 Local Philanthropic Response  

In addition to the grants awarded to date by these organizations, the community’s leading philanthropic organizations are working collaboratively to develop a cohesive strategy for ensuring that the local and regional safety net remains intact and pliable during a time of great need and hardship. Bloomington Health Foundation, the Community Foundation, Indiana University Foundation, IU Health Foundation, and United Way of Monroe County are combining forces to identify current and emerging community needs in response to the growing pandemic.   

Working together, these organizations will bring their unique strengths, tools, and resources to bear in developing a plan informed by research, experience, and expertise.  Ultimately the goal is to ensure the community’s safety net has the resources necessary to sustain individuals and families during this time of unprecedented challenge.   

Local Resources 

Community members needing assistance should search HelpingBloomingtonMonroe.org or call 2-1-1 to connect with needed resources.  

Community-wide resources and updates are being centralized at  
www.monroecountycovid-19.org by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce in partnership with a cross-sector coalition of partners. 

Those looking for ways to help can visit Bloomington Volunteer Network’s COVID-19 Response Hub at www.bloomingtonvolunteernetwork.org/covid19/ for updated volunteer opportunities, items requested by nonprofits, and how to donate. 

Those wanting to support the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund are encouraged to donate at www.monroeunitedway.org/COVIDRelief or text COVIDRELIEF2020 to 44-321. 

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About United Way of Monroe County: United Way of Monroe County is a nonprofit organization that improves people’s lives by addressing critical needs today and working to reduce those needs tomorrow. Through its Community Action Fund and grant initiatives, United Way works with 24 member agencies and community partners to ensure families have opportunities and everyone can meet basic living needs. Learn more at monroeunitedway.org

About Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County: Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion for Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted $30 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $33.5 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources. Visit www.cfbmc.org for more information. 

About Bloomington Health Foundation: Bloomington Health Foundation (BHF) has been the local philanthropic expert for improving community health for more than 50 years. BHF invests support in partnership with the people and organizations of our community by convening, seeking input, and leveraging existing assets to implement innovative, evidence-based solutions to our community’s health needs. Since 2018, BHF has committed $2.7 million to impact health in Bloomington and beyond. Learn more about joining the movement for a healthier tomorrow at bloomhf.org

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