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Foundation Announces GWCF COVID19 Response Fund With Initial Funding of $535,000

The Foundation  has announced a new fund to support a community-wide response to the COVID19 outbreak in Worcester County.  Seeded with $535,000, the funds will be distributed by grants that will support the interim and long-term needs of organizations working with communities disproportionately impacted by the outbreak.

The source of grants will be the GWCF COVID19 Response Fund, an emergency fund created by the Foundation with resources from GWCF and others. 

“We are ready to support this community, and its most vulnerable members, during this time of historic need,” said Carolyn Stempler, chair of the GWCF board of trustees.  “We invite the community to join us by contributing to our fund, or making direct contributions to organizations themselves.”

Contributions are now being accepted at www.greaterworcester.org

Grants will target organizations with deep roots in the community.  Many of these groups serve residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, people with limited English language proficiency, healthcare workers and seniors, among others. 

“COVID19 is both a current emergency and a phenomenon that will have long term effects on vulnerable populations and the viability of some of the nonprofits that serve them,” said Barbara Fields, President and CEO of GWCF. “We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both acute needs and the longer-term impacts of the outbreak and recovery.”

“In this first phase, we are prioritizing organizations serving communities and individuals who are immediately and heavily impacted by this crisis,” Fields added.

Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases. The application process will be designed to be as simple and responsive as possible.

GWCF invites institutions, companies, individuals and other funders to contribute to the Fund at www.greaterworcester.org. The Foundation will also work in partnership with the City of Worcester, local officials throughout the County and other funders to give the Fund the maximum reach and effectiveness. In addition to offering an opportunity to contribute to the Fund, GWCF also urges its donors to look for opportunities to support the critical needs of nonprofits by making general operating support grants to organizations they wish to help.

“As a leading community institution, we are prepared to work closely with government, philanthropy, and community-based organizations to address the crisis, particularly by supporting nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID19 outbreak,” said Stempler. “As the situation continues to develop, we will provide these organizations with the assistance they need to meet the increased demand for support from the community.”

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