This week, the Community Foundation announced the first round of Phase Two COVID response, awarding $410,000 in grants to 25 organizations. Since the pandemic began in March, the Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in grants to support organizations that assist the most vulnerable residents of the region whose lifelines to food, shelter, medicine and employment are at risk due to the pandemic.

The 25 grants issued this month were made in two categories to nonprofits in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount and St. Clair counties:

  • Twelve grants totaling $218,000 to support programs and services to meet critical needs. These grants ranged from $8,000 to $25,000 and included funding for food, rent and utility assistance; mental health services; educational programs; and workforce development training.
  • An additional thirteen grants totaling $192,000 were issued for operating support to nonprofits. These grants, ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 were based on findings that most organizations have had to significantly modify services and operations to meet community needs during the COVID-19 crisis, and that organizations across the board are facing large financial shortfalls as CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program funding is expended and end-of-year donations diminish.

“As this crisis evolves, people’s needs are changing and our nonprofit community is struggling to meet those needs,” said Community Foundation President & CEO Chris Nanni. “Some people are falling through the cracks of available services and support. Philanthropy can make a big impact by targeting its resources to fill those gaps.”

As in the first phase of COVID response grantmaking, Phase Two grants are providing support for groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including low-income residents, displaced workers, essential workers, residents with greater health risks, communities of color, immigrant populations, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and people at risk of intimate partner violence. In addition, the grants are focusing on being inclusive and accessible to smaller organizations as well as those led by people of color.

The second round of Phase Two grants will be awarded in mid-September. The Foundation is anticipating a third phase of grantmaking focusing on recovery later this year. To learn more about Emergency Response Grants or make a donation to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund visit