Lorain County Cares COVID-19 Response Fund

LORAIN COUNTY FUNDERS JOIN FORCES TO ESTABLISH THE LORAIN COUNTY CARES COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND 

It is times like these that working together becomes even more critical. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down in countless ways, but the strength of Lorain County has endured adversity before. Working collaboratively, we have made great strides in ensuring the future of our community, and now more than ever, we will do our best to help our non-profits face the challenging times ahead.  

To kick-start these efforts, a group of seven local foundations and community partners have joined forces in creating the Lorain County Cares COVID-19 Response Fund to deploy much-needed resources to organizations that work with people and communities that may be most adversely impacted by COVID-19. We are actively seeking additional partners to contribute to the Fund. 

So far, each of the following community partners has contributed a significant amount to bring our initial total to $130,000. 

Participating community partners will work collaboratively to collect emergency funding requests, using a standard online application, to simplify and streamline the process for non-profits seeking emergency funds. Community partners will use a shared portal to access information submitted by non-profits via the standard grant application.  As we have learned during the last few weeks, the consequences of this pandemic are rapidly evolving. We will continue to take the pulse of our community and make appropriate improvements to our plans just as swiftly. Initially, our funding priorities are as follows: 

1)    Emergency Assistance/Basic Needs (including assistance to our senior population) 

2)    Education and Youth Services (including arts & culture programs) 

3)    Infrastructure (including the need for digital inclusion) 

Community Foundation of Lorain County will award grants on a rolling basis. As fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, the Fund will adapt to emerging needs as conditions warrant. A complete list of grants that have been awarded are posted here.

All of our partners are encouraging individual donors, companies, additional funders, and other organizations to contribute to the Lorain County Cares COVID-19 Response Fund via our online donation platform Community Suite. Online gifts via credit card will have the most immediate impact. We welcome donations of any amount, and all contributions qualify as charitable deductions.

Checks can also be sent directly to the Community Foundation of Lorain County as the fiscal sponsor of the Lorain County Cares COVID-19 Response Fund. Checks can be mailed to Community Foundation of Lorain County, 9080 Leavitt Road, Elyria, OH, 44035. Please indicate “COVID-19 Response Fund” in the memo line.

If you have any questions about applying for a grant from the Fund, please contact Jamie Simoneau at jsimoneau@peoplewhocare.org or call 440.984.7390.

If you are a Community Foundation of Lorain County fundholder and would like to recommend a grant from your fund, please contact Linda Styer at lstyer@peoplewhocare.org or call 440.984.7390. 

It is a challenging time for all, including the non-profits that have benefited from community giving in the past. Many have experienced an unexpected loss of revenue or sudden increases in expenses directly related to COVID-19. Please continue to donate to organizations you regularly support. However, it is crucial to recognize that now is the time to double down for our community.    

Non-profits are encouraged to be in contact with any foundation with which they already have a relationship. Many of the foundations that have given to the Lorain County Cares COVID-19 Response Fund are also conducting their regular grantmaking processes. 

There is no better time to mobilize philanthropists of all ages and abilities than during a time of crisis. In the words of Nobel Prize winner Pearl Buck, “The test of a civilization is in the way it cares for its helpless members.” PLEASE JOIN US IN HELPING THOSE THAT ARE IMPACTED BY COVID-19. 

What is the Response Fund going to fund?

The Lorain County Cares COVID–19 Response Fund has been established to help Lorain County non-profit organizations that are responding to the spread of COVID-19 and experiencing financial challenges by doing so. Applications that detail and document unexpected loss of revenue or sudden increases in expenses directly related to the COVID-19 may be submitted. Grants from the Fund will likely only serve to assist and supplement the total dollar amount needed—and should not be expected to supplant or replace in entirety.

When are applications due?

Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis. We anticipate accepting applications into the foreseeable future, as the impact to the community becomes better known. We understand the urgency amid the response to our community and will be expeditious in our review and communication of a decision.

Will this fund support projected lost revenue, increased expenses?

The grant process is as fluid as is the situation.  At this time, priority goes to applicants that can demonstrate budgetary need, in actual terms.  Requests for emergency funding addressing COVID-19’s direct impact resulting in unexpected loss of revenue or sudden increases in expenses should be specifically related to the organization’s mission, service delivery, or core functions.

I’m an individual who’s been affected by COVID-19. Can this fund help me?

We understand many individuals and families have been affected by the outbreak already, and more will continue to be changed. On behalf of the Fund’s partners, we are working to move resources to community-based organizations that are directly supporting Lorain County residents and families who are most affected by emerging health, economic, and social impacts.

While the Fund is not able to provide grants to individuals, we will be funding community-based organizations that have experience and history serving people and families. As we begin to award grants, we will post them.

My organization is interested in resources from this fund. Can we be considered?

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting non-profits in many ways, including increased demand for their services, lost revenue due to closures and cancellations, as well as other challenges. We are working closely with our funders and our Community Advisory Committee to ensure that the grants awarded to meet the greatest needs in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?

To ensure we move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of communities most impacted, we are not considering restricted donations at this time. The COVID-19 Response Fund was created in hopes of providing a way to coordinate as many resources as possible.

Should I give to this fund instead of making other donations?

This fund was not created to be the only vehicle resourcing critical community activities during this outbreak. Rather it is working to facilitate getting more targeted resources into the community where they are needed most. If the COVID-19 Response Fund priorities align with your values, please consider making a donation. However, this is a critical time for so many, including the non-profit organizations that have benefited from your giving in the past.

Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community as we gain greater awareness of the depth and scale of the long-term ramifications of the outbreak.

What will not be included in the first phase of funding?

We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs now and the longer-term impacts of the outbreak and recovery. In this first phase, we are prioritizing community-based organizations that are serving communities and individuals who are immediately and disproportionately suffering from this crisis.

Based upon the charitable structure of the COVID-19 Response Fund, our grants are limited to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, or other philanthropic organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. We are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions, or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6) organizations.

Is there a geographic area of focus for the fund?

The COVID-19 Response Fund will prioritize community-based organizations serving Lorain County.

Where will you share what organizations you fund?

We anticipate awarding the first round of grants in the coming weeks. We will publish the list of selected grantees on the Community Foundation website, along with short descriptions of the services and support they are providing. We hope that this will help the community navigate available resources.

Is there a fee to contribute?

With a focus on getting resources out to the community in this critical time, there is no administrative fee for participating in the Fund. 100% of donations will go to community groups and leaders on the ground, except for a credit card fee for online donations. Community Foundation is covering the cost of approximately six staff managing this effort.

How will the Fund shift gears if needed?

The Fund priorities may evolve as our region adapts to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to prioritize communities most impacted, recognizing deep and historical inequities that are likely to be magnified in times of crisis. Crisis philanthropy acknowledges the need to provide immediate resources for triage, as well as the importance of recovery resources to ensure community resilience.