As the year comes to a close, what began in mid-March as cooperative crisis action planning between St. Croix Valley Foundation, United Way St. Croix Valley and United Way Washington County-East has concluded with more than $1 million raised and granted to 112 nonprofits on the front lines of pandemic related need and support, a press release from SCVF.

The COVID-19 Response Fund for the St. Croix Valley was established on March 23 and by March 30 the first round of grants, totaling nearly $200,000, was distributed to nonprofits responding to basic needs for food, shelter, financial assistance and mental health support, the release states. During the next 6 months, in collaboration with funding partners throughout the region — including the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation and the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation — $1,098,312 was raised and granted to nonprofits serving vulnerable populations.

The advisory committee responsible for distributing funds assessed the nonprofit organization’s need statements against funding priorities of food, shelter, financial assistance and mental health support (during the first 3 months of grant making) and housing instability, utility support and transportation needs (during the latter months of the program). The advisory committee also took geography into consideration to ensure that the service areas covered by the Fund (Chisago and Washington counties) and Pierce, St. Croix, Polk and Burnett counties in Wisconsin would all be impacted by COVID-19 Response Fund grants.

In the first wave of grant making nearly 60% of funds were granted to organizations involved with food shelves or other programs to mitigate food insecurity. Additionally, funds supported innovative ways to deliver mental health services during social distance mandates, programs to ensure ongoing food delivery when school lunches ceased, and other support to create stability during economic upheaval. 98 nonprofits received $525,000 during WAVE I grant making.

In the second wave of grant making, funds aided nonprofits working to keep families together, sheltered and able to better weather unforeseen economic hardships. Salvation Army’s Grace Place, Community Thread, Assistance & Resource Center, Interfaith Caregivers, Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence, and Workforce Resources, Inc. were among the 45 grantees that received $573,312 in funding during WAVE II grant making.

The final donation tally of $1,098,312 was significantly impacted by foundations and local businesses, which contributed over 77% of that total, the release states. But donations from individuals, up and down the Valley, contributed significantly – 70% of all contributors to the Response Fund were individual donors.

In a consolidated effort to help those most affected by COVID-19, the St. Croix Valley Foundations waived all administrative fees (with the exception of fees charged by banks/credit card companies) for the response fund.

The COVID-19 Response Fund for the St. Croix Valley is now closed.

For more information on the COVID-19 Response Fund, visit www.scvfoundation.org/covid-19.

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