Butler County agencies are expected to receive nearly half a million dollars to address COVID-19 needs from a local fund, and requests for those dollars are being turned around quickly, officials said.
John Guidugli, president and CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation, said more than $172,000 of the $450,000 available in the fund has been approved and distributed and other requests are in the “pipeline” to be approved.
Initial financing came from Greater Cincinnati Foundation reserved $150,000 specifically for Butler County. In addition, the funds provided by Butler County United Way, First Financial Bank, Hamilton Community Foundation, Meijer and Truist Foundation were matched up to an additional $150,000 by Greater Cincinnati Foundation through the Regional Response Fund.
In total, $450,000 has been allocated to assist in the fight against this pandemic, Guidugli said.
The Hamilton Community Foundation and the Butler County United Way are partnering with Greater Cincinnati Foundation and United Way of Greater Cincinnati. As part of this collaboration, a dedicated source of funding was earmarked for Butler County through the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to address critical needs in this region related to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Guidugli said grant applications are reviewed at 3 p.m. daily during a virtual meeting with the grant committee.
“It’s been a really positive process,” he said.
He said at least 20 grants have been awarded and have ranged from $3,500 for emergency clothing and diapers to $25,000 to Primary Health Solutions.
The committee tries to address “extraordinary needs” that have been created or increased due to the coronavirus, he said.
Mag Baker, president and CEO of Butler County United Way, said she is “extremely pleased” with how the process is working. She said requests for funding have been coming in steadily and have been respond to within two days. The purposes of the requests have been varied ranging from Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies for front line workers, to housing support and rent assistance, to food supplies and food delivery, she said.
She said “targeted services” such as food insecurity, medical needs, housing and shelter, and childcare and senior services have been the initial focus. It is believed that support of these services will have the most impact on speeding up the human and economic recovery from COVID-19, she said.
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Primary Health Solutions received some financial assistance and those funds will benefit people who may have lost their insurance or their job and need help to pay for medical care, said Marc Bellisario, CEO and president.
“The funds will go a long way to assist people who are negatively affected by this pandemic,” he said.
Fairfield Food Pantry also received funding to assist with emergency food supplies. As expected, the pantry is experiencing “a surge” in the number of people seeking help for emergency food supplies said Becca Desai, trustee and vice president of revenues and grants for the pantry.
The pantry has served at least 25 percent more people than it expected to serve in the first quarter and that equates to about 30 percent — or 12,300 — of the people living in Fairfield, Desai said.
HOW TO APPLY
Nonprofit organizations that want to apply for funding should visit www.bc-unitedway.org/covid-19 for additional information. All decisions are made locally, based on the need and the impact it will have on the residents of Butler County.
A short fillable-form application has been developed for quick processing. Applications will be reviewed as received with an answer rendered within three business days.
Additional donations toward this fund are being accepted. Major contributions of $10,000 or more should be made to Greater Cincinnati Foundation (www.gcfdn.org/COVID-19). Smaller donations may be directed to these sites: www.bc-unitedway.org/covid-19 or www.hamiltonfoundation.org.