The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund announced that it has awarded more than $4.5 million to over 300 nonprofit organizations in our region, bringing the total grant amount from the Fund to $13.1 million. This collaborative funding effort was convened in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 health crisis and is now administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, in partnership with The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.
A collaborative of many local foundations has been meeting regularly and monitoring the needs in our community since the onset of the pandemic. It became clear in early 2021 that, as the pandemic continued longer than initially expected, many nonprofits who are providing basic needs services such as food, housing, healthcare, childcare, mental health, transportation, and other emergency services, were continuing to face critical funding shortfalls.
Emergency grants were awarded to organizations in all eight counties of Western New York and ranged from $500 to $300,000, based on the need the organizations shared with the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Grants are supporting efforts directing helping families and individuals with everything from stocking the shelves at small rural food pantries to providing childcare for students in remote and hybrid learning centers to supporting mental health organizations that have a growing waiting list of clients that need to connect virtually.
“When the philanthropic community first came together to create the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund the group committed to continually monitoring the evolving needs in our community as a result of the pandemic. This round of emergency grant funding was the direct result of hearing that nonprofits providing basic needs services needed critical financial support to carry out their missions,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President/CEO of Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “In addition to these grants, the Fund is continuing its commitment to addressing long-standing systemic challenges through its Moving Forward Together initiatives that include more than 400 organizations working collaboratively on a number of different innovative solutions.”
To date, nearly 90 foundations and corporations and more than 1,900 individuals have supported the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund. The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo received a grant from national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in late 2020 and a portion of that funding is supporting this round of emergency grants. To see a full list of contributors, or to join the effort, please visit www.WNYResponds.org.