COVID-19 relief grants fund more than 260 KC-area groups

relief and recovery fund addresses food insecurity
Posted at 8:08 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 21:09:21-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The One KC Digital Day of Giving in April raised more than $2 million, which quickly turned into $17 million thanks to additional donations from corporations and foundations.

The Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund is in charge of making grants and setting priorities to get the money into the hands of organizations and nonprofits helping people whose lives were devastated by COVID-19.

The first priority was getting assistance to provide for health care needs

Jim MacDonald, chief community investment officer with United Way, is on the advisory board.

"With a particular focus on ensuring access to COVID-19 testing, supporting tracing and supporting isolation efforts, we also invested in mental health programs," MacDonald said.

The second item was relief for food insecurity.

Thousands of people who lost their jobs and income suddenly didn't have enough money for food, so the advisory board funded numerous food pantries.

"Traditional food pantries who adopted a drive-though model in the crisis, food distribution programs such as meals on wheels continued and expanded," MacDonald said.

Many people living paycheck-to-paycheck found themselves unable to pay their rent or mortgage. So, the board awarded grants to social service agencies, and nonprofits helping with the housing crisis.

"A range of housing support, whether it be financial assistance to prevent eviction to help people keep their utilities on," explained MacDonald.

David Warm, executive director of Mid-America Regional Council said funding organizations providing child services for front-line workers who have to work during this pandemic was another priority.

"We've helped to expand digital access to ensure that any child at home in need of a computer or other device to remain connected to school can do so," Warm said.

In two months, the advisory board awarded $10 million to more than 260 nonprofits and social service groups in the greater Kansas City metro area. Now the board is pausing to establish a new set of priorities for the remaining $7 million that focuses on recovery.

"Housing stability, getting people back to work, making sure that as this virus continues for the months ahead, we are giving support systems to the places that need it the most," Warm said.

The next round of funding for recovery will likely take place in a few weeks, once the new priorities are established.

If you want to make a donation or you're a nonprofit seeking a grant from the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund you can log onto the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation's website. If you are an individual who needs help meeting medical, family or legal needs you can visit the United Way of Greater Kansas City's website and click on "Get Help."

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