Middletown foundation approves $50K fund to help with coronavirus impact

The Middletown Community Foundation will establish a Coronavirus Emergency Fund to provide grants to area nonprofits that help individuals and families adversely effected by the coronavirus.

The trustees have allocated an initial $50,000 in funding and will be asking community members to donate to the fund with the goal of reaching a minimum of $100,000, said Traci Barnett, executive director of the MCF that serves Franklin, Madison, Middletown, Monroe and Trenton.

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She said the process for area nonprofits to apply for the emergency funding will be “streamlined,” requiring a one-page grant application. Decisions for grant funding will be made on a rolling basis, and the MCF will keep the process “nimble and efficient,” she said.

Rick Pearce, president of the Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, called dealing with the coronavirus “unique and trying times” and he expects the emergency fund will have a “positive influence on our communities and help those effected by this outbreak.”

Barnett recently convened a conference call with area nonprofit leaders to gauge upcoming needs and hear the concerns from those on the frontlines, she said.

Jeff Payne, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc., said downtown businesses have been severely impacted. He said a sizable percentage of the businesses are food and beverage, and entertainment. These entities experienced abrupt losses such as food and other perishables, he said.

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Depending upon their business model they experienced as much as a 90 percent loss of sales in the span of 48 hours, Payne said.

Jeffrey Diver, executive director of Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF), said one of his “greatest concerns” is for families who have found or will find themselves without jobs, especially tipped employees, because of the virus.

“The impact of this virus will be felt for months after the virus passes when families can’t pay their rent and utilities,” he said.

Other issues identified during the call included daycare for children; availability of nutritious, hot meals for area students in light of school closings; and lack of transportation for residents without vehicles should the bus systems have to shut down.

Contributions to the Coronavirus Emergency Fund (CEF) should be made payable to the Middletown Community Foundation, 300 N. Main Street, Suite 300, Middletown, OH 45042. Indicate CEF in the memo portion of the check.

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