Last week, United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) and Blue Grass Community Foundation (BGCF) joined forces to launch a Coronavirus Response Fund to help provide critical support to vulnerable populations across Central and Appalachia Kentucky who may be adversely affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Working closely with the City of Lexington – nonprofit and community leaders are uniting to streamline fundraising and impact efforts. “United, we will support regional organizations on the frontlines of this crisis to ensure that more citizens experiencing hardships can access basic needs like food, healthcare, childcare and transportation during this unprecedented time. As a coalition we can leverage and combine resources to assist more people and make meaningful impacts,” said Timothy Johnson, UWBG President and CEO. “We are proud to partner with Blue Grass Community Foundation and the City of Lexington, and we look forward to working with other partners across the region.”
Teams from UWBG and BGCF are working together to fundraise and deploy rapid-response grants. “Philanthropy literally means love of humankind. Making a contribution to support the most adversely impacted members of our community — children, adults and seniors — is a meaningful act of love. We invite everyone who is able, to join us and donate now,” said Lisa Adkins, BGCF President and CEO.
The fund will extend beyond Fayette County as a regional coalition of philanthropy, government, faith leaders and business partners working to rapidly deploy funding to community-based organizations providing relief and essential resources to communities who are disproportionately impacted by the crisis. Today the Fund announced that it had raised over $175,000 to date, thanks to corporate coalition partners, BGCF fund holders, community donors, and sales from Kentucky for Kentucky’s “United We Stand” and “Team Kentucky” tee shirts. Lead coalition partners include Valvoline, Alltech Foundation, Toyota, Immanuel Baptist Church, Southland Christian Church, the Jenna and Matthew Mitchell Foundation, the Council of State Governments, Kentucky for Kentucky, iHeartMedia Lexington, WKYT, FOX-56 and Smiley Pete Publishing.
The fund is designed to complement the work of local public health, nonprofit, faith-based organizations and government entities - extending their capacity to support the influx of individuals and families experiencing hardships as a result of the outbreak and related economic disruptions.
“Neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, business to community, that’s how Lexington will get through this,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “As this crisis has unfolded, with wave after wave of new restrictions, Lexington has answered with wave after wave of kindness and compassion. We’ve reached out in small ways … picking up dinner at a restaurant, helping an elderly neighbor, opening up parking spaces. And today we’re reaching out in a big way. Thank you to the businesses and organizations that are stepping up today to make like easier for thousands of people in Lexington and across Central and Appalachia Kentucky.”
Officials are moving quickly to issue the initial round of regional grants to increase resiliency in disproportionately affected communities. The first grant will be awarded this week to God’s Pantry to help deploy 10,000 meals to those in-need across the region.
Rapid-response grants will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs. BGCF will administer grants from the Response Fund in partnership with UWBG and in close collaboration with community advisors and local governments.