SW MT COVID-19 Response Fund Update

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Local nonprofits rally to raise resources for continuing pandemic-related needs and recovery in Southwest Montana

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- April 8, 2021  --  Greater Gallatin United Way and the One Valley Community Foundation, who jointly raised and awarded over $500,000 for the Southwest Montana COVID-19 Response Fund between March and August 2020, announced today that they will be continuing to fundraise for The Southwest Montana COVID-19 Response Fund. This funding will provide support for the ongoing community needs resulting from the pandemic, remote learning pressures, and the economic slow-down.

“Issues that have quietly impacted many in our community for far too long – food insecurity, housing shortages, mental health, lack of reliable childcare – have reached crisis levels for so many more of our neighbors during the last seven months,” said Danica Jamison, President/CEO of GGUW.  “The agencies we work with are reporting ongoing and increasing demand for their services, just as many nonprofits are facing significant funding cutbacks.”

One Valley Community Foundation and Greater Gallatin United Way have raised over $775,846 in donations for COVID-19 related community needs. After spending down the fund in the fall, a generous $50,000 challenge grant from the Mericos Family Foundation helped secure funding from One Valley Community Foundation donor-advised funds and other private donations to kick-start the second round of fundraising and distributions. AMB West Philanthropies is providing another challenge grant in the amount of $25,000 to help encourage individual donations.

Jointly the two organizations hope to raise an additional $225,000 for the COVID-19 Response Fund by mid-April - in time for the next round of grants allocations for nonprofits.  When this milestone is reached, the Fund will have raised and distributed $1 million dollars in COVID relief funding for the southwest region of Montana since the pandemic began a year ago. 

“Montanans take care of each other. The immediate response to the Bridger Foothills Fire and our Southwest Montana COVID-19 Response Fund that was launched in March were extraordinary examples of how this region takes care of its neighbors during times of crisis,” added Bridget Wilkinson, Executive Director of the One Valley Community Foundation.  “While we’re starting to see some light at the end of this COVID-19 tunnel as vaccines roll out, many may not be aware of how the pandemic continues to strain the capacity of frontline service providers and nonprofit organizations.”

When they distributed what had been raised in the Southwest Montana COVID-19 Response Fund this fall, One Valley Community Foundation and the Greater Gallatin United Way surveyed the fund’s grantees and other local nonprofit organizations on the impacts they were seeing or expected as the pandemic continued. Based on the data from 61 respondents, these are the four funding priorities for this second phase of distributions from the Fund:

  • Emergency Financial Assistance - Unrestricted grants to support organizations providing access to immediate basic needs (e.g. rental and mortgage assistance, emergency shelter, food, healthcare, financial support for individuals and families). 
  • Mental and Behavioral Health - To support providers and community organizations with a focus on stress reduction, access to mental health care, and improving mental wellbeing. 
  • Childcare Grants - To support both service providers and systems coordination efforts, with a focus on accessibility and affordability. 
  • Emerging Needs Grants – The fund partners remain committed to working with community organizations and stakeholders to stay informed and engaged regarding any emerging needs and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

Organizations located in Gallatin, Madison, Meagher, and Park counties are invited to apply for funds if they help meet these needs.  The application process will open on April 15, 2021 and close on May 15, 2021.