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COVID-19 Response Fund established to provide disaster relief

Fri, Mar 20th 2020 03:00 pm

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation and other area funding organizations are collaborating to lead a coordinated philanthropic response by establishing the COVID -19 Response Fund.

CRCF, in partnership with the Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation and the United Way of Cattaraugus County in consultation with government agencies and community advisors, will administer grants from the fund to nonprofit organizations in Cattaraugus County that are working at the front lines to assist those impacted by the coronavirus.

CRCF’s board of directors has voted to contribute $5,000 of board-designated funds to the response fund.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is already having and will continue to have a deep effect and an economic impact on the region and vulnerable populations,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “The community foundation and our partners in this fund feel a responsibility and sense of duty to support the nonprofit organizations working in the trenches during these uncharted times.

“At the same time, we know how supportive and generous people in this region are. In times of crisis, they step up to help those in need. Having a centralized location to channel support will help get it to those nonprofits serving individuals most in need more quickly,” Buchheit said.

Together, the administrators of the fund will work to proactively identify and evaluate potential grant recipients,  accept requests for assistance from impacted nonprofit organizations and recommend grant awards.

Individuals will not be eligible to receive grants due to the charitable restrictions of the fund. Grants will be limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and charitable organizations that receive tax-deductible contributions.

More specific details on grantmaking guidelines are being developed and will be announced later.

 “Now is the time for us to double down in supporting the community,” said Buchheit. “We encourage anyone with the means to donate to do so.”

She added, “This effort is meant to complement any support individuals may be making directly to the nonprofits that they always support. It’s another vehicle through which needs will be addressed.”

Laura Whitford, Renodin Foundation president, and Susan McAuley, United Way in Cattaraugus County executive director, echoed that sentiment.

“The Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation, which is a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, has always been committed to helping our neighbors in need. Now, more than ever, we are called to joyfully serve others in a spirit of love, healing and compassion,” Whitford said. “I have faith that our community will come together to support each other, especially those most affected by this challenging pandemic.”

“Now more than ever, we are seeing this community Live United with acts of generosity and kindness,” said McAuley. “By all working together, we can make sure we meet the needs of our community.”

Donations can be made to the fund online at cattfoundation.org or mailed to the CRCF office at 301 North Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY, 14760.  Checks should be made payable to CRCF/COVID-19 Fund. More information can be found at cattfoundation.org/covid-19-response-fund.

In addition to its philanthropic efforts, the fund and advisory group will be working to help spread information on other ways the community can help, particularly in the area of volunteer needs.

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).