Fast-action charity fund wants to get money to local nonprofits on frontline of COVID-19 crisis in Routt County
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As some of the area’s biggest employers shut down, including Steamboat Resort, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation has established an emergency charity fund for people in need.
The Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund will serve as a way to distribute monetary donations to nonprofits on the frontline of responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Nonprofits, like LiftUp (of Routt County), are working around the clock filling needs, so they’re not focusing on fundraising. We can focus on that for them,” said Helen Beall, the community foundation’s community impact manager.
Beall said the new COVID-19 fund can be rapidly distributed to different nonprofits, depending on what is needed.
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For example, with schools and businesses closing, students and workers may need food right now, and unemployed workers could need help with rent as the coronavirus runs its course. LiftUp is a local nonprofit that could meet those needs.
“We do emergency rent and mortgage assistance, and we’re anticipating a need with layoffs,” Fegelein said. “As this virus strings along, people are going to have a hard time paying rent.”
Traci Hiatt, donor engagement manager for the community foundation, was on the phone Monday with other organizations who are providing everything from medical care to utility assistance, like Northwest Colorado Health, Routt County Council on Aging, Integrated Community, Routt County United Way and others. She said the Steamboat Springs Chamber is also working on helping small businesses with acquiring emergency loans.
“While we still encourage people to donate directly to nonprofits, the intent of the Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund is to support the nonprofits and ensure that all vulnerable populations in our community are being served,” Hiatt said.
Hiatt said the response fund will be a quick way to get money for specific requests without going through “an extensive grant process.”
Beall said links to various nonprofits will be included on the Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund page by the end of the week or sooner. In the meantime, she encourages anyone in immediate need to contact the appropriate nonprofits directly.
Kate Nowak, executive director of Routt County United Way, said she thinks the new fund is a great idea.
“I think that we don’t know the magnitude of the need we’re going to have in our valley,” Nowak said. “We don’t know how long this is going to last, and the community foundation has the resources and manpower to implement a fund like this, and I think the nonprofits are excited that there’s one place to donate.”
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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