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COVID-19 Community Response Fund’s incredible impact in 2 years

Thanks to gifts generously donated to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund established two years ago today by the Community Foundation and United Way Fox Cities, 118 local nonprofit organizations received $1,776,497 in grants.

Those grants assisted efforts to provide immediate basic needs relief, short-term response and longer-term recovery in Outagamie, Calumet, Shawano, Waupaca, and the Neenah-Menasha areas of Winnebago counties during the COVID-19 public health emergency and economic crisis.

Priority was given to organizations serving marginalized and vulnerable people who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. A list of grant recipients is available here.

In an incredible show of generosity and selflessness during a time of ever-changing challenges, 441 individuals, businesses and foundations contributed $1,786,498 to the fund, which was created March 17, 2020. In the first year, $1.6 million in donations were given. A list of donors is available here.

The fund is closing after making its last two grants to Casa Hispana for financial assistance for Hispanic and Latino residents; and to the Multicultural Coalition in support of its ongoing efforts to coordinate Covid-19 vaccine clinics.

The Community Foundation and United Way Fox Cities remain committed to providing an avenue for supporting future community emergency response.  Therefore, a new Community Response Fund is being established to support nonprofit and other community organizations engaging in relief, short-term response or longer-term recovery in Outagamie, Calumet, Shawano, Waupaca and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago counties following a community emergency. The new fund will maintain a minimum of $10,000, which includes $5,000 originally contributed by each organization to create the first fund, and can be activated quickly when needed.

Curt Detjen

“When the pandemic struck, everything changed, and more people needed help. Some services which so many of our friends and neighbors rely upon were suspended. The community needed our nonprofit organizations even more.  Those nonprofits delivered necessary services in new ways. It was also a time when people were called upon to do more if they could. And they did,” said Curt Detjen, President and CEO of the Community Foundation.  “It’s times like these when community partners like the Community Foundation and United Way are called upon to act swiftly. Thanks to a community-wide effort to raise funds and the nimble stewardship of our teams, grants were provided to our nonprofits to meet the needs. Our region’s response to this emergency was nothing short of remarkable.”

Peter Gianopoulos

“Our teams have always played an important role in responding to community needs and sustaining local nonprofits, but the pandemic was a whole new challenge,” said Peter Gianopoulos, President and CEO of United Way Fox Cities. “We are very proud of the work accomplished through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund and, of course, eternally grateful for the nonprofits and the generosity of so many who gave during a time of widespread and intense need. This was one of those moments that showed our strength as a community. Together we rose above the challenges and cared for our friends, neighbors, and community during a dark time. The challenges are not over, and we are certain the spirit of generosity will continue as we work on recovery and tackle ongoing needs. We are looking forward to continuing deeper collaboration between our organizations to serve the community in new ways.”

Summary of $1.78 million in Grants

  • Health and Well-Being: 27.87%
  • Vulnerable Populations: 22.54%
  • Food: 17.04%
  • Housing and Safe Shelter: 12.71%
  • Financial Assistance: 12.24%
  • Child Care: 7.59%

Twenty-nine percent of the grant dollars went to nonprofits serving people in Outagamie County, and another 29% went to the Neenah/Menasha area of Winnebago County, 23% in Calumet, 12% in Waupaca and 7% in Shawano County.

Check out our report to the community! What does a Community Foundation do? Glad you asked! Learn more here.

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