Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund surpasses $230K
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund recently surpassed the $230,000 mark in donations received. The fast-action charity fund, established by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, has granted around $73,000 out of the $238,420 raised to 12 different nonprofits throughout Northwest Colorado.
“We were asked to create this fund as a response to the needs of nonprofits,” said Helen Beall, the Community Foundation’s community impact manager. “They are swamped and are being asked to do a lot more with a lot less.”
The goal of the fund is to support individuals impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic through nonprofits. Organizations that have received grants in the past month include Horizons Moffat County, Northwest Colorado Health, Routt County Council on Aging, Connections for Kids, Community Budget Center, Love Inc., Northwest Center for Independence, Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide — REPS — and Routt to Success.
Most recently the fund awarded a $15,000 grant to Routt County Public Health for COVID-19 and antibody testing.
“It’s so important for the public health department to have funding that’s readily available to spend when tests become available,” Beall said. “It’s a key component to re-open more businesses.”
In a bi-weekly funders meeting, representatives from different organizations, including Routt County United Way, the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation and Deer Park Road, discuss which organizations need the most help at this time.
“To me, what’s very unique about this is how funders have come together to share decisions and ideas about where funding is most needed and how the money can be spent,” said Yampa Valley Community Foundation Executive Director Tim Wohlgenant. “The funders work together to track funds and coordinate a response to ensure that there is no unnecessary duplication of funds going to any one organization.”
With over 170 donors to date, the relief fund continues to grow, and Donor Engagement Manager Traci Hiatt expects more money to be raised in the coming months.
Donations to the Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund can be made online on the Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s website at yvcf.org/covid19.
“We had a big initial push of donations in the first week after the fund was established with over $53,000 in donations,” Hiatt said. “Since that time, we have seen sustained and steady support for the fund through individual contributions, support from other foundations and funders, as well as corporate donations.”
Hiatt noted the fund is still receiving donations daily, which is indicative of the community understanding this is a long-term situation.
“Our community will need to continue to rely on the charitable giving and generosity of those who are able to give in any amount,” Hiatt said.
A $25,000 matching challenge will kick off on May 5 in conjunction with Giving Tuesday, which will provide donors the opportunity to see their donations automatically doubled. To donate, visit yvcf.org/25000-matching-challenge-to-support-the-covid-19-emergency-fund.
“We have seen contributions ranging from $25 to $10,000, and every single dollar is essential in meeting the existing, emerging and anticipated needs of the vulnerable populations in our community,” Hiatt said.
Moving forward, the fund will continue to examine community needs in the recovery stage post-pandemic. Beall cites child care facilities as a good example of organizations that will need help.
“Many child care facilities in Steamboat are nonprofits,” Beall explained, “and many did get money from the government, but often times, it’s not enough. We will help them look at how to re-open and what their needs will be surrounding that.”
A list of grants that have already been given out can be found online at yvcf.org/covid-19-emergency-fund-grants.
“If you have the capacity to give, now is a great time to do so,” Beall said.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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