UPDATE: OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Jul 16, 2020

JULY 16, 2020 UPDATE:

In our efforts to help alleviate the social and economic consequences of this global pandemic, the Community Foundation has distributed it’s fourth round of grants from the Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund.

This most recent round of grants supported a dozen organizations, including: Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield, CLASP Homes, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative, Family Business, Inc., Laurel House, Inc., LifeBridge Community Services, Newtown Community Center, Norma F. Pfriem Urban Outreach Initiatives, Southwest Community Health Center, St. Pauls on the Green, Supportive Housing Works, Inc., and The Connection.

In total, thanks to your support, we have awarded $1,908,500 in COVID-19 Resiliency Fund grant funding to 154 organizations serving Fairfield County residents.

Since March 18, 2020, a total of $2.44 million has been raised from generous donors, businesses, and foundations, helping to reach an estimated 260,233 of our county’s most vulnerable residents. During the same period, Donor Advised Funds, managed by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, have deployed more than $3 million in additional grant funding in response to the crisis.

We remain grateful for the outpouring of support for our region’s frontline nonprofit organizations, but it is clear that the consequences of COVID-19 will continue through the end of 2020 and beyond. If you’ve yet to make a donation or are considering an incremental gift, donations of any size are greatly appreciated and can be made at FCCFoundation.org/COVID19ResiliencyFund.

Thank you for your enduring commitment to Fairfield County. We hope you’ll take the time to review our latest COVID-19 Resiliency Fund Grants Report, which details the ways in which the Resiliency Fund grants have been deployed. And for a complete list of Resiliency Fund grantees with brief descriptions of funds used, click here.

Our COVID-19 Resiliency Fund will transition from a focus on rapid, emergency response to long-term recovery and sustainability. Please continue to visit our COVID-19 information page for updates on funding opportunities.

We know the road to recovery remains long and uncharted. Thank for your unwavering commitment, support, and resilience in the journey ahead.

MAY 28, 2020 UPDATE:

The first half of 2020 has not been what any of us expected, but our community has responded to the challenge. We hope you are continuing to manage as best as possible and we share continued wishes for good health and the best for you and your families.

The artist, Henri Matisse, said, “There are always flowers, for those who want to see them.” At the Community Foundation we are glad to see the flowers – the silver lining of our community coming together in this time of extraordinary need – as spring takes hold with summer not far behind.

In mid-May, the Community Foundation focused on fulfilling our spring competitive grantmaking cycle, which we had started in early March. Based on conversations with many of our nonprofit partners, this incremental grant cycle — part of our traditional annual funding efforts — will allow them to continue to deliver necessary services and adapt, as needed. I’m pleased to share that last week we distributed nearly $700,000 in funding through our spring grantmaking.

In the past three months, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation — thanks to the generosity of individuals, FCCF Donor Advised Fundholders, businesses and foundations — has activated more than $7.25 million in philanthropy with most of it supporting local organizations in Fairfield County and across Connecticut:

  • $1.65+ million through Fairfield County’s Giving Day on February 27th.
  • $2.3+ million through our Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund, launched on March 18th.
  • $2.7+ million through COVID-related grants from Donor Advised Funds at the Community Foundation, since March 16th.
  • Nearly $700,000 through the Community Foundation’s spring competitive grantmaking this month.

We thank you for your enduring commitment to Fairfield County. We hope you’ll take the time to review our new COVID-19 Resiliency Fund Grants Report. The Report details the ways in which Fairfield County’s COVID-19 Resiliency Fund grants have been deployed across the region. It includes information on funded issues, people served, and geographies reached. It highlights just some of the impact you’ve helped us make possible to support our most vulnerable neighbors. Highlights are included below and we encourage you to access the full report here. For a complete list of COVID-19 Resiliency Fund grantees with brief descriptions of how these funds are being used, click here.


We’re also pleased to share that this week we mailed our spring 2020 Community Foundation newsletter, which should arrive to homes in the coming days. If you’d like to read the spring newsletter online, you can find it here.
Today marks the last of our special edition Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund updates. Starting in June, we will continue to share updates on our COVID-19 Response – and provide updates on our other Community Impact programs and initiatives — through the regular monthly edition of our Community Foundation e-newsletter. Look for it in your email in the coming weeks. To sign up for our newsletter: FCCFoundation.org/email

The past few months have been quite a journey and the road ahead remains long and uncharted. We are grateful to have you by our side. Thank you for your continued support, generosity and resilience.

MAY 11, 2020 UPDATE:

We’re pleased to share that the Community Foundation has distributed its third round of grants from the Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund. In six weeks, we have awarded $1,808,500 in emergency funding to 141 local organizations. Plus, an incremental $2,716,149 has been deployed through grants from Donor Advised Funds at the Community Foundation, bringing the total dollars granted since mid-March to more than $4.5 million.

We’ve been truly humbled by the overwhelming support and, even more so, by the strength of Fairfield County’s frontline nonprofit organizations. Just a few examples of organizations receiving recent funding and how they are helping some of our region’s most vulnerable residents, include:

  • Danbury Youth Services Inc., will purchase grocery cards for families and buy laptops to give clients access to telehealth services;
  • Green Village Initiative, in Bridgeport, will provide food access and distribution to residents through local farm and community gardens;
  • Norwalk Community College Foundation, will  assist low-income students with grocery gift cards, payment of essential bills, and connection to mental health services.

After an earlier round of funding, we received an email from our friends at Supportive Housing Works, which adds context to how these grants make a critical difference for our nonprofit partners:

“A heartfelt thank you for Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s generous and swift donation to the homeless system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thanks to you we are making progress – moving approximately 350 homeless from the streets and congested shelters into hotels in the last two weeks while simultaneously managing the closure of all three homeless shelters in Danbury. Thank you again for your incredible support, steadfast partnership, and warm friendship.”

A full list of Resiliency Fund grantees, including brief descriptions of how these funds are being used, can be found here.

Our ability to respond has been made possible, first and foremost, by the unwavering generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations that have contributed more than $2.2 million to the Fund to date. Your support continues to fill us with gratitude and pride to be your neighbors in Fairfield County. To all those who have made a donation, THANK YOU!

Requests for funding have now reached $5.4 million. Donations of any size are much appreciated, so please continue to give and help spread the word to your friends, family, and social networks. Donate today!

TEMPORARY PAUSE IN ACCEPTING GRANT APPLICATIONS IN MAY
While we continue to raise funds, we are temporarily pausing the application process for our COVID-19 Resiliency Fund. During the month of May, the Community Foundation is shifting its focus to fulfilling our spring competitive grantmaking cycle. Based on conversations over the past few weeks with many of our nonprofit partners, this incremental funding cycle — which was planned prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 — will allow them to adapt their upcoming programming and ongoing services as necessary. We anticipate distributing over $700,000 in incremental funding through our spring grantmaking cycle.

As our COVID-19 response begins to transition from emergency, rapid-response funding to recovery and planning, we expect to evolve the focus of subsequent funding rounds to meet our community’s medium to long-term needs. Please continue to check our website for updates. For questions, please email COVID19@FCCFoundation.org.

WE’VE ALMOST MET OUR $500,000 CHALLENGE GRANT!
We are only $150,000 away from hitting our $500,000 challenge grant goal! We’re pleased to share a reminder that an anonymous donor has offered a $500,000 challenge grant to help fulfill rapidly changing needs and additional funding requests. Donations up to $10,000 to the Fund are being matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000.

THANKS TO OUR NEWEST FOUNDING FUND PARTNERS
We want to especially share our appreciation for our most recent Founding Fund Partners who have each donated a minimum of $25,000 to the Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund, including: Bridgewater Associates; CNG, SCG, UI – Part of the AVANGRID Family; Eversource, Henkel North America; The Hope Fund; Impact Fairfield County/Generation Impact; JPMorgan Chase; People’s United Community Foundation; Pitney Bowes; Target Corporation; Tony and Judy Evnin; Tudor Foundation; Wells Fargo; and The Wescustogo Foundation. See the growing list of Founding Fund Partners here.

The past two months have been challenging for so many in our community. We encourage you to continue to closely follow the guidelines recommended by Governor Lamont and the State of Connecticut, the Federal government, and the Centers for Disease Control

Most importantly, be kind to each other. Take care of each other. And stay healthy. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

APRIL 20, 2020 UPDATE:

One month since the Fund’s launch, we’re pleased to share that we’ve awarded 88 grants totaling $1,359,500 through the Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund. These grants have been made to nonprofit organizations serving Fairfield County’s most vulnerable residents with a primary focus on four key service categories: employment or economic security; mental or physical health; education; and housing. A full list of grantees, including brief descriptions of how funds are being used, can be found here.

To date, the Fund has received $1.83 million in donations. In addition, our donor advised fundholders have directed an additional $1.26 million in grants to nonprofit organizations impacted by the social and economic disruption of the pandemic during the same period. Across our county, the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations continues to be remarkable. THANK YOU!

We’ve been truly humbled by the outpouring of support and, even more so, by the heroism of our region’s frontline nonprofit organizations. Our Community Impact team has been working hard to thoughtfully review applications and distribute grant funding as rapidly as possible and will continue to engage our nonprofit community in conversations to help fulfill as much of the need as possible.

If you’ve yet to make a donation or are considering an incremental gift, we’re pleased to share that an anonymous donor to the Community Foundation has offered a $500,000 challenge grant. Any donation up to $10,000 to the Fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated and can be made at FCCFoundation.org/COVID19ResiliencyFund.

We want to especially share our gratitude for our Founding Fund Partners who have each contributed a minimum of $25,000 to the Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund: Anne S. Leonhardt Fund, Anonymous Fundholders and Donors, Bank of America, Buckeye Fund, Dan Levinson, Diane and Andreas Halvorsen, John Mayer’s Back to You Fund, Don Kendall, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Board of Directors, Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation, The Koskoff Fund,NBC Sports Group, O’Herron Family Foundation, Perrin Fund for Youth Voice, Ritter Family Foundation, andSocial Venture Partners Connecticut.

We are privileged to be among the neighbors who call Fairfield County home.

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.


APRIL 9, 2020 UPDATE:

In the week since our last update, the generosity of Fairfield County in response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to humble us and fill us with pride. The Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund established three weeks ago has now received more than $1.65 MILLION in contributions from our community, an increase of more than 20% in the past week.

As expected, however, requests for funding from local nonprofit and community organizations also continues to grow, outpacing our fundraising and now exceeding $4 million. FCCF’s Community Impact team reports that they intend to distribute the second wave of emergency grants from the Fund next week. We remain focused on supporting frontline organizations delivering essential needs such as food, shelter, health, safety, education, and economic security. A list of grantees from the COVID-19 Resiliency Fund can be found here.

GREAT NEED, GREAT OPPORTUNITY$500,000 CHALLENGE GRANT
As we work to fulfill funding requests and rapidly changing needs, we are honored that an anonymous donor has offered a $500,000 challenge grant to provide an additional incentive for giving! Any donation up to $10,000 to the Fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000.

If you’ve already made a donation, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts! Every donation of any size matters, so please continue to give if you have the means and help us spread the word to your friends, family, and social networks.
Donate here.

NONPROFIT & COMMUNITY NEEDS: AN EVOLVING LANDSCAPE
The COVID-19 global pandemic has created unprecedented immediate and anticipated long-term challenges for nonprofit and community-based organizations and Fairfield County residents. Mendi Blue-Paca, Chief Community Impact Officer at FCCF, has authored a three-part blog series informed by conversations between our Community Impact team and numerous nonprofit staff, community leaders, and residents in Fairfield County’s diverse cities and towns. The challenges are dynamic and therefore represent a point-in-time assessment of what is being experienced during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on what we have learned so far, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is focused on meeting and addressing the needs and challenges captured in the series, with a particular emphasis on 1) housing, economic, and food security; 2) education and children and youth services; and 3) mental and physical health, domestic violence, and other key issues.

Read and share the blog series here.

RESOURCES FROM OUR CENTER FOR NONPROFIT EXCELLENCE
For our nonprofit partners, be sure to check out our Nonprofit Resources webpage, which is updated regularly by our Center for Nonprofit Excellence team with information and links to best practices, additional financial resources, webinar trainings, and other tools to help Fairfield County nonprofits continue to provide support to those in need and to strengthen our region.

Nonprofits can secure government loans and other assistance under the CARES Act. The SBA loans can keep your organization functioning, workforce employed, and clients served during the Covid-19 crisis. The loans have relatively excellent terms and are forgivable per certain requirements. Learn about the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Coronavirus Relief Options here. Applications are now being accepted. These loan programs are first come, first served – so, be sure to contact your bank ASAP, even if in advance of filing.

Nonprofits may also consult The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act to identify other ways the bill’s provisions can help meet immediate needs.

To those observing a holiday over the coming weeks at home with your immediate family – and perhaps virtually with extended family and friends – we wish you happy, healthy, and meaningful celebrations and times of reflection. Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

APRIL 2, 2020 UPDATE:

In the two weeks since the Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund was established by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF), more than $1.375 MILLION has been donated thanks for the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations across Fairfield County and beyond. THANK YOU!

FCCF’s Community Impact team is working to review applications for funding and rapidly deploy vital grants to local nonprofits supporting basic needs of our region’s most vulnerable residents: food, shelter, health, safety, and education. As of today, we’ve distributed more than $500,000 in emergency funding to more than 30 local organizations. Another round of grants will be distributed next week. We will share an updated list of grantees weekly here.


$500,000 CHALLENGE GRANT
We’re thrilled to share that the $100,000 challenge grant provided by an anonymous FCCF fundholder last week was met.

And now, we’ve got an even bigger opportunity. Another anonymous donor has offered a $500,000 challenge grant! Any donation up to $10,000 to the Fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000.

To those who have already contributed, THANK YOU! Every donation of any size matters, so please continue to give from your heart and help us spread the word to your friends, family, and social networks.

NONPROFIT RESOURCES
For our nonprofit partners, be sure to check out our Nonprofit Resources webpage, which is updated regularly with information and links to best practices, additional financial resources, webinar trainings, and other tools to help Fairfield County nonprofits continue to provide support to those in need and to strengthen our region.

NONPROFIT ACCESS TO CARES ACT – SBA LOANS, LOAN FORGIVENESS, & MORE
Nonprofits can secure government loans and other assistance under the CARES Act.  The SBA loans can keep your organization functioning, workforce employed, and clients served during the Covid-19 crisis.  The loans have relatively excellent terms and are forgivable per certain requirements.

Learn about the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Coronavirus Relief Options here.

Applications are now being accepted. These loan programs are first come, first served – so, be sure to contact your bank ASAP, even if in advance of filing.

Nonprofits may also consult The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act to identify other ways the bill’s provisions can help meet immediate needs.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
If you’re interested in local volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.volunteersquare.com/opportunities or learn about being a possible volunteer with the Connecticut Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Connecticut VOAD) at https://dart-ct.communityos.org/volunteer-registration.

We are so grateful to call Fairfield County our home and you our neighbors. Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

MARCH 26, 2020 UPDATE:

Last week, we launched The Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund to help alleviate the social and economic consequences of this global pandemic and to prevent the widening of disparities in education, employment, housing, and health. In just one week, our community has committed more than $1 MILLION to The Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund. If you’re among those who made a donation, THANK YOU!

During that same time, however, we’ve already received funding requests from the nonprofit community in excess of $1.4 million…and we expect that the requests and need will continue to grow.

So, together, we’ve got more work to do.

In this time of great uncertainty, we hope you will consider making an incremental gift to FCCF’s Covid-19 Resiliency Fund. As an added incentive, any new gifts up to $10,000 to the Fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000, by an anonymous FCCF donor-advised fundholder. Every donation will make a meaningful difference, so please be as generous as you can and also help us spread the word.

In addition to the deployment of critical financial resources to nonprofits, FCCF has launched a new Nonprofit Resources webpage. The Resources page will provide links to best practices, webinar trainings, and other tools to help Fairfield County nonprofits continue to provide support to those in need and to strengthen our region.

Thank you for your continued support, generosity and resilience. Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

MARCH 18, 2020 UPDATE:

The Community Foundation has established The Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund, which will rapidly deploy resources to trusted, frontline community organizations meeting basic needs of local residents in Fairfield County. This includes low-income individuals without health insurance and/or access to sick days; immigrants; persons with disabilities; and communities of color, among others.  The Fund has been set up with generous seed funding from a cross-section of individuals, private foundations, corporations and others.  Learn more & donate: FCCFoundation.org/Covid19ResiliencyFund

MARCH 11, 2020 UPDATE:

Dear Friends,

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is fortunate to be part of a caring, generous, and resilient community. The health and safety of our partners, staff, and neighbors is always our top priority. Below we’ve provided updates on steps we are taking to address any impact the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) may have on upcoming events, activities, and operations.

We will provide additional updates and recommendations as necessary in the coming days and weeks via email, our website, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN).

We encourage all of our friends to closely monitor updates and review valuable health and safety resources from the State of Connecticut and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as your local health departments.

In addition, we encourage you to support local nonprofit organizations that work with the people and families who are most vulnerable in our community. Community health centers, homeless shelters, pre-school and after-school programs, food pantries and others, which are already dealing with reductions in state and federal funding, will be further stressed. In times like this, philanthropy can shine. If you’re a fundholder or donor interested in specific recommendations, please contact your relationship manager or email Karen Brown, VP of Development & Philanthropic Services at kbrown@fccfoundation.org.

Thanks to all of you for your support, strength, generosity, and resiliency.

Sincerely,

Juanita T. James
President & CEO

 

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING: REMOTE OFFICE / RESTRICTING ACCESS

Based on recommendations from public health officials related to social distancing, all Community Foundation staff will temporarily work remotely starting on Monday, March 16th. Our main number, 203-750-3200, will be answered as normal from 9am to 5pm weekdays and all staff will remain accessible as usual.

We are restricting access to our office in Norwalk by prohibiting visits from all outside guests effective immediately. FCCF meetings scheduled at our office will be converted to virtual meetings (see more in “CNE: Workshops” and “Community Foundation Room Rental” sections below).

Grants processing and distribution of grants will continue.

We will review this policy on a daily basis following guidelines from the State, CDC and the Norwalk Health Department and share updates as needed and, when appropriate, returning to our normal course of business.

 

THE FUND FOR WOMEN & GIRLS ANNUAL LUNCHEON

We are postponing The Fund for Women & Girls Annual Luncheon, originally scheduled for April 3rd at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. We are working towards finalizing a new date.

All purchases of tickets and tables as well as sponsorships, exhibitors, and the purchase of program ads will be valid on a new date. The Community Foundation is developing a process for those guests who have already purchased tickets and are unable to attend on the rescheduled date. Stay tuned to The Fund for Women & Girls Luncheon webpage and your email for updates. For any questions, please email Tricia Hyacinth at fwglunch@fccfoundation.org.

 

CENTER FOR NONPROFIT EXCELLENCE: WORKSHOPS

We will be moving this month’s workshops — Giving Day Debrief (March 26th at 10am) and Human Resources 201 (March 31st at 10am) — to virtual webinar formats. More information, including links to register and join the webinars, will be available shortly on the Events page of our website. We will provide updates on the status of April workshops by the end of March.

 

COMMUNITY FOUNDATION ROOM RENTALS

Per our plans to prohibit outside guests at our Norwalk office, we will be canceling all scheduled free rentals of our Training Room and conference rooms through April, effective immediately. Any organization that has scheduled use of any of our office spaces for the remainder of March and April will be notified directly via phone and/or email by close of business on Friday, March 13th. We apologize for any inconvenience and will work to reschedule dates on a case-by-case basis.

 

FUNDHOLDERS & DONORS: GRANTS & INVESTMENT PERFORMANCE

Any grants submitted to the Community Foundation by fundholders via the online Donor Portal will be processed and mailed out as quickly as possible during this period. We encourage fundholders to limit mailing us paper grant recommendation forms if possible. For questions, contact Mike Rosen at mrosen@fccfoundation.org or Steve Aubin at saubin@fccfoundation.org.

In addition, as global markets continue to experience volatility we want to assure fundholders and nonprofit endowment partners that the Community Foundation focuses on making investments with an eye towards the long-term and sustaining the wellbeing of our region.

Our Investment Committee, comprised of local finance professionals and members of our Board of Directors, will continue to monitor our investments in the days and weeks ahead.

NEPC, our investment consultants, conducted a webinar last week that talked about their thoughts on the coronavirus and impact on the financial markets and the economy and a recent blog post. View them at COVID-19 Webinar and COVID-19 Blog.