AACF_covid_relief

The Athens Area Community Foundation is donating $40,000 of its COVID-19 Community Response Fund to 18 nonprofit organizations. (Courtesy Athens Area Community Foundation)

The Athens Area Community Foundation is donating $40,000 of its COVID-19 Community Response Fund to 18 nonprofit organizations dedicated to distributing food in Northeast Georgia, according to a news release.

With the stay-at-home order directed by the Athens Clarke County Mayor and Commission on March 20, nonessential businesses, including many nonprofits, had to operate at “minimum basic operations.” AACF set up their COVID-19 Response Fund in response to nonprofits’ increasing financial need.

Using data from United Way of Northeast Georgia 211 Contact Center and the Athens Wellbeing Project, the AACF Board of Directors determined which nonprofits within United Way’s 12-county area in Northeast Georgia were most in need of funds.

The grant reviewers are a collection of community leaders, nonprofit advocates, business leaders and government associates, according to the release. They determined that the first round of funds released would go to 18 nonprofits that are providing and distributing food to those in need. These organizations include the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, the Athens Community Council on Aging and the East Athens Development Corporation. The $40,000, which is 20% of the fund, will be distributed to these 18 organizations this week, according to the release.

“With supply chain disruption, financial distress and health concerns, accessibility to affordable food is increasing for many of our regional residents. Those organizations that are providing emergency food distribution and access are critical at this time to ensure our neighbors are being fed,” Kay Keller, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Georgia, said in the release.

A second phase of funds will be released in the upcoming weeks, according to the release. In a conference call Wednesday morning, Sarah McKinney, president and CEO of AACF, said that starting this Friday, the grant reviewers will begin looking at housing and sheltering as the topics for the next phase.

AACF has set up on their website a Nonprofit Assessment Tool, which is a survey that nonprofit organizations can take to “tell their stories,” according to the website. The goal of this survey is to allow supporters to see the ways that the nonprofit community is responding to the impacts of COVID-19 and opportunities for investment, according to the website.

McKinney specified in the conference call that there are no grant applications for the Response Fund.The grant committee decides what organizations will receive funding.

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