Yampa Valley Community Foundation donated nearly $400K in COVID-19 grants
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – When COVID-19 was declared a global crisis just over a year ago, Routt County nonprofits were impacted dramatically — tasked with figuring out how to move their programming online and how to fund their organizations.
“It was definitely a really hard time,” said Steamboat Creates Executive Director Kim Keith.
In an effort to help nonprofits adapt to the pandemic, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation launched the COVID-19 Response Fund, which served as a vehicle for accepting donations and enabling rapid disbursement of those funds to where they were most needed.
“The outpouring of generosity we witnessed was staggering,” said Helen Beall, the foundation’s community impact manager.
In less than four months, the fund received donations from over 300 individuals and awarded 51 grants to Yampa Valley nonprofits, totaling $399,694.
The grants were directed to nonprofit organizations and government agencies on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention, containment and response and were specifically aimed at supporting vulnerable populations in the Yampa Valley, Beall said.
Nonprofits could apply for grants, and money was awarded by a selection committee made up of community members.
Grants were made to organizations serving people whose health and safety were especially impacted by COVID-19, including older adults, people with pre-existing medical conditions, those at risk of intimate partner violence, food or housing insecure, homeless, students and other vulnerable populations.
“The rapid creation of this fund and successful grantmaking process demonstrated the ability of this community to quickly unite and activate, as funders, nonprofits and donors,” Beall said. “Together, we responded to the immediate crisis as well as long-term recovery needs. Our community should be proud of the way we came together in this unprecedented time.”
Keith said the two grants her organization received went to help transition the Young at Art Creativity camps to a virtual format, which the organization believed was necessary to ensure children still had healthy outlets during a stressful time.
“We worked primarily to pivot quickly to help our local families that were both teaching and working and trying to have space,” Keith said. “Most of the people we worked with were local families that were in the midst of sequestering from the pandemic.”
Sue Fegelein, exeutive director of LiftUp Routt County, said the group’s $25,000 grant helped keep the food bank and community support programs operating.
“We are grateful to have been able to continue to serve our neighbors in need despite our Thrift Store (or main funding source) shutting down for three months,” Fegelein said. “This grant made a difference in our community.”
Traci Hiatt, donor relations manager at the foundation, said she attributes the COVID-19 Response Fund’s success to a generous community.
“We are fortunate to have such a strong community of donors who supported this fund from day one,” Hiatt said. “The immediate outpouring of support meant we could help nonprofits move quickly to provide critical services to those most impacted, even before government response was available.”
Recipients of COVID-19 response grants and the populations they serve are detailed below:
• Food and housing insecure: $53,000 was granted to the following organizations providing food and housing to low-income, housing- and food-insecure and unemployed individuals and families: LiftUp of Routt County; Community Budget Center; Town of Oak Creek; Love Inc. of the Yampa Valley; Salvation Army (two grants); and Routt County United Way: Routt to Success.
• Other at-risk populations: $29,420 was granted to the following organizations providing services to individuals and families with intellectual and developmental disabilities, immigrants and older adults: Horizons Specialized Services (two grants); Integrated Community (two grants); Northwest Colorado Center for Independence; Rocky Mountain Downs Syndrome Association; Yampa Valley Autism Program; The Haven/Northwest Colorado Health (two grants); and Routt County Council on Aging (two grants).
• Medically vulnerable and health access: $80,591.14 was granted to the following medical organizations providing testing, care, and resource and referral in the community: Routt County Public Health; Northwest Colorado Health (four grants); South Routt Medical Center; and Northwest Colorado Community Health Partnership
• Mental health and interpersonal violence at-risk: $31,500 was granted to the following organizations providing mental health support and assistance for domestic violence survivors: Mind Springs Health; Open Heart Advocates; Bears Ears EMS Counseling; and Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide.
• Education: $24,932.69 was granted for the following schools to address the needs of students and their families: Hayden School District; Moffat County School District; South Routt School District; and Steamboat Springs School District.
• Youth and child care: $156,993 was granted to the following youth-serving organizations: A Shared Vision; BookTrails Inc.; Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado (two grants); Connections 4 Kids; Family Development Center; Grand Futures; Heritage Park Preschool; Holy Name Catholic Church; Partners in Routt County; Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports — STARS; Steamboat Creates (two grants); Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; Totally Kids, Inc.; and Young Tracks Preschool and Child Care Center.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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