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Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund awards $1.1 million in emergency grants to frontline organizations

APRIL 15, 2020 — Just weeks after the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia activated the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund as a way to rapidly raise funds and align resources where they are needed most, the fund announces its first round of grants totaling $1.1 million to 25 organizations providing immediate support to those most impacted by the pandemic.  


While the region is in the early response phase of this crisis, the fund is initially focused on ensuring support for those most likely to contract the virus or those whose health could be further compromised during this time because of barriers to food access, healthcare or stable shelter.  

While the pandemic has impacted the operations of virtually every organization in our community,” says Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer at the Community Foundation, “We are currently targeting those on the frontline that need to pivot and adapt quickly to an ever-increasing demand for their services. Some organizations have repurposed their buildings, others require additional staffing to make up for fewer volunteers, and others need to purchase additional cleaning supplies and PPEs to ensure the safety of their staff and clients.”   


An advisory committee from the philanthropic, business and public sectors are reviewing and distributing grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund on a rolling basis. The first round of grant recipients includes:


  • Safety net clinics to help with increased staffing, conversion to telehealth delivery and coordinating safe access to appointments and medication
  • Homeless service providers  for staffing, supply costs and neshelter options
  • Staffing costs and cleaning supplies for a domestic violence shelter and the Essential Personnel Childcare Center
  • The distribution of meals to food-insecure individuals, including children and seniors

For a full list of grants awarded thus far, click here. 


By working in collaboration with local officials and our many fund partners, we are tapping into deep community knowledge to ensure we are doing the most good for the most people throughout every phase of this crisis,” said Ben Ruppertfinance chair of the Emergency Management Alliance and a fund advisory committee member“As funds are available, we will remain flexible to the evolving needs as the situation continues to unfold.” 


To date, the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund has raised $4.25 million in contributions from foundations, businesses and individuals across the region. This includes a $100,000 matching grant from the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg to incentivize new donations made through their website.  


“Organizations stepping up to help will continue to need funding,” said James Taylor, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We are pleased to support this first round of grants, but we know there is a lot more to do. I encourage everyone in our region to join our local United Way in donating to the COVID-19 Response Fund.” 


The campaign to raise funds and enlist support from the public continues as the impact from the crisis will likely stretch out for weeks and months.  To learn more about how the fund works and how you can help response efforts, please visit  

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