The United Way of South Central Nebraska has awarded 24 grants totaling $35,822 to area nonprofits from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, organizers of the fund said in a news release Thursday.

Grants have been awarded to address needs ranging from food and housing insecurities to operational changes for nonprofit groups to comply with directed health measures and social distancing.

The fund was established in mid-March as community groups began to deal with disruption from the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, pandemic.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our nonprofit community seems to expand and evolve every day,” said Jodi Graves, executive director of United Way of South Central Nebraska. “Our Community Response Fund is designed to be responsive to those changing needs. The Response Fund committee meets weekly, sometimes more, to review requests and respond to needs as quickly as possible.”

To date, $112,700 has been raised for the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. The United Way of South Central Nebraska and the Hastings Community Foundation partnered to provide the initial funding. Additional dollars have been raised from charitable foundations and private donations.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our community is going to be long term, so we need this fund to be long term, too,” said Dan Peters, executive director of the Hastings Community Foundation. “The Response Fund committee is not only awarding dollars. Based on the grant requests, we’re also able to identify opportunities for organizations to work together to create efficiencies and maximize donor dollars.”

Examples of Community Response Grants that have been awarded include:

  • $1,000 to United Harvest to support the monthly food distribution program
  • $2,000 to Goodwill Industries to allow Developmental Disability Services to meet with clients remotely
  • $2,580 to Senior Action/Meals on Wheels for increased meal cost associated with COVID-19 restrictions
  • $500 to Harvard People’s Project to provide emergency aid to individuals

Nonprofit, 501 ©(3) organizations serving Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties are eligible to make a grant request. Organizations don’t need to be United Way agencies.

Requests are awarded based on applicants’ ability to serve affected populations and limit the spread and impact of the virus. No grants will be awarded to individuals or families.

Additional gifts to the Community Response Fund can be made online at www.unitedwayscne.org/give or mailed to United Way of South Central Nebraska, 301 S. Burlington Ave., Hastings, NE 68901. The grant application is available at unitedwayscne.org/covid-19-resources or hastingscommunityfoundation.org/for-nonprofits-grants.

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