March 20, 2020
Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund

To support community-based organizations on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak response, Essex County Community Foundation has announced the creation of the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund.

In collaboration with funders, government agencies, and business partners, the Fund – seeded by $200,000 from ECCF – will provide financial resources to nonprofit organizations working with communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the outbreak.

“Over the last few days, we’ve been assessing the immediate needs of local nonprofits that serve the most insecure populations,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “They are doing an amazing job of responding to the rapidly increasing needs of our cities and towns, but with the situation changing so quickly – and more and more people experiencing direct effects from the outbreak – they need the community’s help now more than ever.”

Community Health Centers, Food Pantries, and other frontline nonprofit organizations serving the County’s most vulnerable populations are already approaching a tipping point, and this current crisis will continue to tax these organizations for the foreseeable future.

“The Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund is designed to help mitigate this and complement the efforts of public health officials and federal and state resources, by expanding local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible,” said Francis.

The first priority of the Fund is to provide one-time rapid-response grants to organizations that serve priority populations such as:

  • Underserved communities needing social service and public health infrastructure.
  • Residents with limited access to safe, reliable food sources.
  • Communities with a significant percentage of economically vulnerable residents.

A panel of fund advisors with experience assessing community needs will identify potential grant recipients. ECCF will not host a formal application process during this rapid-response phase and funds will be released on a rolling basis.

“This strategy will make it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to the evolving needs of Essex County’s nonprofits,” said Francis.

During this time, ECCF encourages donors to continue their direct support of the frontline organizations they have supported in the past, and that are overwhelmingly affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. The Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund provides an additional opportunity to make a collaborative, countywide impact.
“Donors of all sizes are welcome to support the Fund,” said Francis. “These donations will be combined with those of like-minded donors who wish to support the county’s nonprofit organizations serving our most vulnerable.”

As this crisis unfolds here in Essex County, ECCF will provide updates on the fund at eccf.org/COVID-19ResponseFund. You can also find a collection of trusted resources for supporting different facets of our communities here.

“As we work through this crisis together, ECCF will continue to leverage our strong relationships with Essex County’s nonprofits to stay updated on their immediate COVID-19 related needs,” said Francis. “We are also very aware that organizations are likely to feel the effects of this pandemic for quite some time into the future.”

Essex County Community Foundation is proud to serve the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, where, during a time of crisis, so many helpers emerge to come to the aid of their friends and neighbors.

“We have seen it time and time again,” said Francis. “When there is a need, people in Essex County come together and take care of each other.”

Column: Systems of support help local students make gains

Column: Systems of support help local students make gains

Though the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students is not yet fully known, what we do know – and what the early data confirms – is that learning has suffered, equity gaps have widened and the time to come together to create systems that work for all students is now.

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