Waterbury, CT — The pandemic world in which we’re living is changing fast. Thankfully, the COVID-19 Response Fund, established by the Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury less than a month ago, is responding just as quickly.
Each non-profit organization added $50,000 to kick start the fund so that local organizations could submit and receive grants in a timeframe that is condensed to days instead of weeks or even months. The need is immediate and urgent so a corresponding response was critical. Both organizations have since committed additional resources.
Residents and businesses have answered the call and contributed generously to the COVID-19 Response Fund. Thanks to this true community effort, as of Monday, April 13, a committee has approved $216,723 in grants from the fund, directed to organizations that are feeding those who would otherwise go hungry, providing safe housing for those in need of shelter, and meeting the needs of those who have become sick as a result of COVID-19. Some of us are lucky enough to be in warm homes with homemade meals but others fear for their very survival. The COVID-19 Response Fund has helped:
- Ensure that food can be delivered to those who have tested positive for COVID-19, keeping them from spreading the virus by keeping them home where they can rest and regain their health.
- Support our healthcare workers and first responders by providing safe childcare so they can be there for those who are so sick they need medical attention or need emergency assistance.
- Address the needs of volunteers at our food banks, offering personal protection equipment to ensure they can serve a booming population as members of our community suddenly face loss of income.
Kristen Jacoby, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Waterbury, said, “For weeks now, United Way has mobilized its ability to study the community need and coordinated actions with local officials to develop solutions that are not only working but continue to help people as the situation changes. What we could do last week simply won’t work now. We need to be adaptable and communicate clearly.”
Julie Loughran, president and CEO of Connecticut Community Foundation explained, “While the need we are seeing runs deep and cuts across major swaths of our community, it is heartening to see residents stepping up and finding ways to help their neighbors. People are volunteering. They are making gifts to the frontline organizations addressing the food, shelter, health, and financial needs of the community. And they are contributing to the COVID-19 Response Fund, enabling the Foundation and the United Way to respond quickly and meet the most pressing needs as we see them. Seeing the community pull together in this way is nothing short of inspiring.”
Ms. Jacoby cautioned that the fund’s ability to respond is only as strong as the community’s willingness to help. “We are deeply grateful to the many generous people and organizations who have answered the call to build the fund. These donors reflect our most basic shared value: we all depend on one another for a healthy community. However, without additional funding, we cannot progress beyond these initial steps to ensure survival of our most vulnerable citizens and keep up the strength of those working on the frontlines to battle the virus. People can support the fund by texting ‘uwgwcovid19’ to 41444 or visiting www.unitedwaygw.org or www.conncf.org.”
United Way of Greater Waterbury’s mission is to mobilize our 10-town region, amplify its resources, and invest in approaches that advance equity and measurable community outcomes. The Greater Waterbury area includes Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury.
Established in 1923, Connecticut Community Foundation was created by and for the people of Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. While serving the 21-town region, the foundation provides leadership in addressing the community’s critical issues, strengthens local nonprofit organizations through grants and technical assistance programs, and works with individuals, families and corporations to steward charitable and scholarship funds.
An updated list of grants that have been awarded is available at conncf.org/covid-19-rapid-response-grants