In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Scranton Area Community Foundation announces the launch of the newly created NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund which aims to address the diverse and pressing needs of the Lackawanna County region and rapidly deploy resources to the nonprofit organizations that are at the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak and those who serve vulnerable populations.
The NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund will aim to rapidly deploy responsive and flexible resources to nonprofit, community-based organizations working with those who are impacted by COVID-19 and the related economic, social, and health-related consequences of the outbreak. The Fund is designed to expand local capacity to efficiently address aspects of the outbreak, particularly to those that might be unable to secure resources elsewhere.
To date, donations have come in from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation and a variety of individual donors. These donations, and others, will directly support grants made from the NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis as funds are available. The Foundation’s intent is that grants awarded will meet the greatest array of needs of the organizations and communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
One of the organizations working to provide support during this time is PA 211 NE/ Help Line. CEO of Family Service Association of NEPA, Gertrude McGowan, Esq. stated, “PA 211 NE/ Help Line is experiencing a huge uptick in volume and the questions PA 211 NE/ Help Line are handling seek clarity on a broad range of subjects from the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or PA Department of Health guidance on COVID-19 to food, shelter, utility and other human service needs.”
Lisa Durkin, President and CEO of United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA stated, “We’ve seen an increased demand for emergency needs, particularly food. Our food pantry has been distributing nearly 100 food bags per day and the number continues to climb.” She also added, “Trying to keep up with demand while maintaining responsible social distancing is a challenge but the collaboration across social service agencies and support from our community leaders, local government and foundations has been amazing.”
To apply for a grant from the NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund, nonprofit organizations can visit www.safdn.org/covid19. The Foundation will receive input on grant decisions from an advisory committee composed of partner organizations and representatives from the foundation, nonprofit, and civic sectors.
To make a contribution to the NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund, please visit www.safdn.org/covid19 or contribute by check made payable to the Scranton Area Foundation indicating “COVID-19 Fund” in the memo mailed to the Scranton Area Community Foundation, 615 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 102, Scranton, PA 18510.
For more information, contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.
In addition to establishing the NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund, the Scranton Area Community Foundation is:
- Maintaining a rolling critical needs grants pool and traditional grant funding pool.
- Implementing and maintaining the NEPA Nonprofit Resources Google Group, a discussion-focused group created for nonprofit, civic, government, and funding organizations to be able to quickly share information, needs, questions, and resources with each other.
- Establishing a program of weekly webinars to help nonprofits, including training programs on crisis management; operations management; increasing fundraising revenue; and building sustainability, among other topics.
- Convening a collective of regional foundation and civic partners regularly to ensure that we are working both proactively and responsively when addressing our communities’ needs.