$3M fund launched to help local nonprofits weather coronavirus downturn

The nonprofit’s location in Scott’s Addition. (BizSense file photo)

A major Richmond-area foundation is leading an effort to help nonprofits stay afloat in the face of the economic downturn.

The Community Foundation for Greater Richmond and two partners have launched a $3 million relief fund to support local nonprofits as they work to provide services amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, which also involves Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia and PlanRVA, is aimed at organizations that offer services supporting the physical and emotional health of vulnerable populations, such as seniors, immigrants, the homeless, children and people with limited English proficiency.

“As our respective endowments and networks have grown, it has strengthened our ability to step up in times like this when the community needs us most,” Community Foundation spokeswoman Kim Russell said in an email.

Money will be doled out to cover operational needs of food-access providers, safety-net clinics, housing providers and other nonprofit organizations. The fund also will mitigate lost income and revenue experienced by nonprofits as a result of the outbreak, according to a Community Foundation news release that announced the launch of the fund Friday. Though there’s a focus on nonprofits that provide community services, the grant funding is available to all nonprofits.

“This process is open to any nonprofit, but we have adopted priorities around essential services needed at this time, such as child and senior care, housing for the homeless and food access, to name a few,” Russell said.

To address nonprofits’ requests more quickly, there isn’t a formal application process. Organizations will be directed to explain their need in a Google form, she said. There, nonprofits can elaborate on their short- and long-term funding requirements, specific in-kind donations and volunteer needs.

The grant program is available to nonprofits that operate in Central Virginia, and that includes nonprofits in Richmond, Henrico Hanover, Goochland, Chesterfield and Powhatan.

A specific range of grant amounts hasn’t been set, but the expectation is that most grants will be for $10,000 to $50,000, Russell said. Grants will be considered on a rolling basis, and organizations can apply more than once. An advisory committee will manage communications and grant decisions.

The fund was seeded with a $500,000 contribution from the Community Foundation. The fund has grown to $3 million with contributions from other organizations and individual donors.

Contributions to the fund have come from Atlantic Union Bank, Bank of America, Capital One, The Cabell Foundation, Altria, Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, Genworth, CarMax Foundation, Robins Foundation, Dominion Energy, Wells Fargo and VCU Health Systems, according to the release.

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