Wondering how you can help respond to community needs in the coming weeks of health and economic crisis? The Homer Foundation has set up a new COVID-19 Response Fund to channel local donations toward non-profit organizations serving the most vulnerable families and individuals on the southern Kenai Peninsula.
One hundred percent of donations to this new fund will go to agencies providing support for food, housing and other needs of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve surveyed our community partners and heard their needs,” said Mike Miller, Executive Director of the Homer Foundation. “We’re only seeing the beginning of these effects. Local providers are already straining to deal with the new realities of the COVID-19 virus. Having access to this fund will make their jobs easier.”
Specific priorities in this first phase of the Homer Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund will be:
* to provide grants to nonprofits providing human services and emergency assistance (food, shelter, transportation, living expenses, rent/utility assistance, etc.)
* to provide grants to non-profits serving vulnerable populations, including children who are out of school, families without childcare, people who have lost a source of income due to the pandemic, people who are high risk medically, seniors, veterans, people who are homeless, and individuals who lack paid sick leave or health insurance.
This new grant fund comes with a shorter application and quick response. The maximum amount per grant is $2,500 per request, and the Foundation plans to turn requests around quickly to help agencies meet their missions.
The success of this effort will depend on local donations from our community. Anyone wishing to donate can follow the COVID-19 Response Fund link here. The Foundation can also be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 907-235-0541.
Some of the money raised from community contributions will augment the Foundation’s Community Chest, which supports emergency non-food assistance in the Homer area. Other likely recipients of the funds include other regional food pantries, senior centers and domestic violence shelters, which provide housing assistance in the area. The foundation board also expressed an eagerness to work with local churches through this crisis. Those agencies are encourages to contact the Homer Foundation.
With many unknowns ahead, including loss of jobs and impacts on tourism and commercial fishing, the Foundation expects difficulties may continue at least into summer. The COVID-19 Response Fund will give the Foundation the ability to pivot as unforeseen needs arise. The Homer Foundation also encourages local residents to give directly to community non-profits.
Miller said the organization’s board met this week and felt an urgent close to home aid campaign would find strong support and fit the Foundation’s mission: “Connecting generosity to community need.”
To support other area non-profit groups not directly involved in this social response, the foundation plans to accelerate its turnaround for quick-response grant requests from its existing funds. Many non-profits on the south peninsula are hurting from the cancellation of public fundraising events and money-making programs.
The Homer Foundation is a 501c3 not for profit corporation serving the communities of the southern Kenai Peninsula. Incorporated in 1991, it was the first community foundation established in Alaska. Born out of the combined vision of several community leaders, the Foundation began with $75,000 in pledges from three founding donors and has grown to have 65 different funds with total assets of over $2.5 million. Since inception, the Homer Foundation has distributed over $3.1 million in community grants and scholarships.