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Coalition announces second phase of Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

Nearly $3 million initially available; individuals and organizations encouraged to give

CLEVELAND – Philanthropic partners across Northeast Ohio today announced the creation of Phase II of the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, for continued support to nonprofit organizations dealing directly with the ongoing effects of the pandemic in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties.

In determining the approach to Phase II, the partners collected input from nearly 750 stakeholders, including more than 300 community residents, almost 320 nonprofit organizations (both Phase I grantees and non-grantees), and dozens of local and national leaders across sectors. Three areas stood out as critical, interrelated factors for COVID-19 recovery and strengthening the region:

  • Response, Adaptation and Recovery: Continue to respond to the urgent, basic needs surfaced by the pandemic and coordinate this response with medium- and long-term strategies, as mentioned above
  • Racial Justice: Apply a racial justice lens to disrupt and dismantle unjust policies and practices that negatively impact people of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • Economic Well-Being and Mobility: Prioritize economic well-being and mobility for all Greater Cleveland residents, especially those who have historically experienced economic disadvantage, displacement and exclusion

“The coronavirus pandemic has not been society’s great equalizer; it’s been our mirror,” said India Pierce Lee, senior vice president of program, Cleveland Foundation. “COVID-19 has laid bare historical and systemic racism that has resulted in disparate health and economic outcomes throughout our region. While the Fund alone cannot undo this long history, funders working together across missions and focus areas is exactly the spirit we need to strengthen and rebuild our current ecosystems.”

Phase II will extend the focus of Phase I: meeting basic needs, securing personal protective equipment (PPE), and helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It will also support emerging needs such as expanded community-based coronavirus testing and contact tracing and supporting families through this uniquely challenging school year. Details on the streamlined application process and funding cycle will be released mid-September.

Nearly $3 million in initial support for the second phase of the Fund was made possible by:

Cleveland Foundation

Community West Foundation

Deaconess Foundation

The George Gund Foundation

HealthComp Foundation

Huntington Bank

KeyBank Foundation

Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation*

Saint Luke’s Foundation

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Third Federal Foundation

United Way of Greater Cleveland

* pending full board vote

Thanks to the generosity of more than 80 corporate, civic and philanthropic partners, as well as nearly 2,300 individuals and families across the region, more than $8.6 million was distributed to nearly 160 organizations across Northeast Ohio during the first phase of the Fund. New funding partners (since the end of Phase I) include Michael & Ashley Fisher, Humana and Jarosz Family Fund. Grants in Phase I were primarily awarded for food, housing, PPE, telehealth, mental and behavioral health care access, virtual learning and advocacy, and to support grassroots organizations.

“Within a week of the first reported case of COVID-19 in Ohio, our local philanthropic community came together and established the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, set up to complement the public sector pandemic response and help meet the needs of the community,” said Susanna H. Krey, president, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. “By supporting grassroots organizations already doing the work on the ground, we were able to quickly deploy resources to the members of our community that needed them most, and it’s clear that there are countless needs still to be met.”

Based upon the charitable structure of the Rapid Response Fund, grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. The partners are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6) organizations.

Funding partners urge other foundations, corporate entities, individuals and organizations to contribute to the fund via ClevelandFoundation.org/ResponseFund. Donations of any amount are welcomed, and all contributions are tax deductible.

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