COVID-19 Response Fund Impact Stories

COVID-19 has brought change to nearly every aspect of the way we live and work in our communities. The varied efforts to limit spread of the disease have created health and economic challenges that are exposing inequities in often tenuous social systems, leading to disparities in the pandemic’s effects on different populations within our communty. But amid the adversity and disruption caused by COVID-19, we see an opportunity to move towards a more equitable future, and bright spots where people are doing just that.

As we have since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut Community Foundation will continue in the coming months and years to work hand-in-hand with our community’s nonprofits, donors, civic leaders, and local residents to help our community through the challenging times ahead and pursue more just outcomes in the process.

In March, Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury partnered to establish the COVID-19 Response Fund to mobilize resources and to support the efforts of organizations meeting emerging, frontline needs. As of May 31st, the COVID-19 Response Fund has distributed $392,349 into the community and will continue to support relief and recovery efforts for those who are most disproportionately affected by and especially vulnerable to a range of challenges and basic needs, including health, food security, child care, housing, and other social impacts of the crisis.

Grant recipients have inspired us in countless ways with their work. Here, we’ll share just two stories of how community-based organizations are using their grants – which depend on donor gifts to the fund – to undertake critically important work and touch a multitude of lives throughout our community.

 St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury, Inc. Provides A Safe Haven Of Comfort And Nourishment To People Experiencing Homelessness In The Midst Of The COVID Crisis.

We all feel how the coronavirus pandemic has upended our normal lives. But can you imagine if your home, a shelter that provides a nurturing environment and basic resources for you and your family, was suddenly no longer safe … and you had nowhere else to go? For too many of our neighbors this is a reality. Organizations like St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury are working vigorously to address the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness, and doing so in ways that protect residents’ health and guards against the further spread of COVID-19.

St. Vincent DePaul Mission operates the state’s largest homeless shelter, giving it a statewide reach. In addition, its soup kitchen serves over 350 people a day alongside a food pantry and additional supportive services including permanent supportive housing, supervised apartments, and licensed group home services for people with serious mental illness.  St. Vincent DePaul serves a vulnerable population in the best of times; during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is seeing higher demand for its services as well as increased costs relating to cleaning, PPE, and moving shelter residents to allow for social distancing. St. Vincent De Paul received two grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund, totaling $49,300, to support the cost of extra food and supplies at the shelter, soup kitchen and food pantry, the purchase of personal protective equipment and cleaning products for COVID-19 conditions, and additional staff and administrative expenses due to the crisis.

Edwin Rodriguez, Director of Development & Public Relations at St. Vincent DePaul Mission, says “We serve nearly 500 people a day experiencing homelessness, hunger, poverty, and serious mental health challenges, and without assistance from our community and caring funders, like the and United Way of Greater Waterbury, we could not afford the protective COVID-19 gear, supplies and additional hazard pay necessary to safely support the people we serve every day during these very difficult times. On behalf of all the clients we serve, we are so appreciative of their support, generosity and understanding. Our front-line workers could not do what they do every day without the support of our foundation friends and their supporters.”

For decades, experts have been saying that homelessness is incompatible with health, but, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s never been truer.  We are grateful to the donors who have made it possible to care for our most vulnerable neighbors.

TEAM, Inc.: Child Care is Changing And Will Need To Stay Sustainable For Our Communities To Thrive.

COVID-19 has exposed the critical value of child care for our families and our economy. Local, state and federal governments have identified child care for front line employees as an essential service alongside health, utilities and food delivery systems.

Through their joint COVID-19 Response Fund, Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury have provided a $20,000 grant  that will enable Team, Inc. to support home-based family child care providers in greater Waterbury in order to ensure they can remain open and viable in the long-term.

The grant will provide PPE and cleaning supplies to Family Child Care Homes, ensuring they can follow stringent cleaning and deep-cleaning protocols and ensure the health and safety of children and employees. The support will enable these critical community resources to remain open or re-open to care for the children of essential workers and others returning to their workplaces. Family Child Care Homes are small, independent child care entities, many of which were already economically vulnerable prior to the public health crisis, yet they are critical to providing effective early childhood access and culturally responsive childcare options for families from all walks of life throughout the Waterbury and the greater Waterbury region.

Dave Morgan, President & CEO of TEAM Inc. states, “I am so grateful for this Fund’s response to the greatest need of the Family Child Care Homes in Waterbury – it is making a meaningful difference for more than 30 Family Child Care Homes, and when looking at the larger picture of this initiative we continue to convene on a weekly basis as we assess priorities and determine solutions in navigating the current and long-term financial impacts of COVID-19 to the Family Child Care Homes.”

Along with the PPE & cleaning supplies, long-term fiscal solvency is the other top priority for TEAM, Inc.’s Child Care program.  Morgan acknowledges that this early childhood system is critically needed as part of the economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Through Team Inc.’s work and support, the Family Child Care Homes continue to gain confidence and resolve as they work together in the weeks and months ahead.

Be A Hero Today! Join us in Supporting Those Most Affected By The Pandemic.

Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury will continue to award grants on a rolling basis.  The Fund will adapt to needs as they emerge. A complete list of grants that have been awarded is posted here.

In order to meet pandemic-related community needs in the many months to come, we will need to count on those who are able to share some of their own resources with their neighbors. We thank all who have supported the COVID-19 Response Fund so far—our community is stronger because of your generosity. And we invite each of you to join us by making a gift to the COVID-19 Response Fund today. Thank you.