Comox Valley Community Foundation creates special fund for community support during COVID-19 crisis

The Comox Valley Community Foundation has created a special fund specifically for non-profits struggling to help families during the COVID-19 health crisis.

As was posted on its website March 26, the CVCF board has established a new COVID-19 Emergency Response Granting stream, which is now open to all local charities and not-for-profits for applications.

“This granting stream is intended to offer resources for the community where they are needed most and will support urgent issues, particularly those being experienced within vulnerable sectors,” the statement reads. “The CVCF will advance the Robert & Florence Filberg Funds for child welfare and religious organizations earlier than planned, making just over $145,000 available to the community now. In keeping with the intentions of Robert & Florence Filberg Fund, the funds will be directed to support organizations focused on child welfare in the broadest sense, and religious organizations/churches providing services to our community. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout this public health crisis and its recovery phases. This will enable us to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs.”

Qualified non-profits can apply for the grant at https://bit.ly/2Upjdih

“We have a grants review committee, made up of board members from the Comox Valley Community Foundation, as well as a couple of community members, and they will be reviewing the applications as they come in,” said CVCF executive director, Susan Auchterlonie. “We opened up the applications today (March 26) and the first review will be sent out to the review committee on April 3, then we will be meeting shortly thereafter… to go through the applications and put the recommendations in front of our board for the April 14 meeting. And hopefully we will have money in the hands of all the [successful] agencies on April 15.”

When asked about the possibility of providing funds for the Comox Valley Food Bank, which was forced to close amid COVID-19 circumstances, Acuchterlonie pointed out that in order to qualify for the funds, non-profits must apply.

RELATED: Comox Valley Food Bank closes due to COVID-19

“We are hopeful that the food bank will apply for the funds, because under the criteria that we have, they would be eligible, as this is for child welfare – families and children,” she said. “In addition to putting the press release out, I have communicated with every area non-profit agency yesterday to let them know the funds would be available. So everyone would have received the information yesterday, so they should all be aware.”

The CVCF webpage also has a link for donations specifically for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Grants. Any donations received will be added to the $145,000 total.

“We have actually had, in the last 24 hours, over $5,000 in donations,” Auchterlonie said Thursday afternoon. “So that puts us at $150,000 that we can distribute.”

It is hoped that this would be a one-time distribution of funds, but with no knowledge of how this crisis will play out, the CVCF will continue to collect donations.

“We may not give all the money out at the start, depending on what type of applications come in… and this will be a lengthy process; people will have to ‘re-gear,’ essentially,” said Auchterlonie. “So as more money comes in, we will be recycling the grants. As long as we have money left, we will keep giving money out.”

In addition to the Emergency Response Granting stream, the CVCF board also approved the immediate distribution of $10,000 to The Salvation Army Comox Valley Ministries and $6,433 to St. George’s United Church/Sonshine Lunch Club in order that they may continue to serve the community’s most vulnerable. These funds were put in the hands of The Salvation Army and St. George’s United Church on Wednesday (March 25).

“That’s just money we had left over from our granting in January, that we did not distribute… we had that money sitting there, so we were able to get that out the door very quickly, for those two organizations,” said Auchterlonie.

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