News March 27, 2020

Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund: Our first round of grants + new partners

People and organizations across our community are stepping up to help those in need during this unprecedented time in our community.

On March 18, we joined partners from across the community to launch the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. Since then, more than $5.73 million has been raised from 35 different corporate, civic and philanthropic partners alongside individual donations from across the region. Since our last update on March 23, new funding partners include:

Funding partners urge other foundations, corporate entities, individuals and organizations to contribute to the fund via, where you can also view a list of partners to date. Donations of any amount are welcomed, and all contributions are tax deductible.

First round of crisis response grants announced

The Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund coalition has also announced its first round of weekly grants to support the Greater Cleveland nonprofit community during the ongoing pandemic. In total, $500,000 was awarded to the following organizations serving on the frontlines of the pandemic:

  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank ($300,000): To support the dramatically increasing needs of individuals impacted by food insecurity including children, families, seniors and individuals with health challenges. This funding will help to subsidize emergency food resources as well as programming and supplies that will be needed in the coming weeks and months. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio, having served more than 350,000 people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties in 2019.
  • MedWish International ($70,000): To hire temporary staff to collect and provide access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other in-demand medical supplies for local health care institutions. MedWish will identify the most needed items and pull those from its inventory to make them available as quickly as possible upon request. This includes ventilators, PPE and respiratory supplies. This grant will also help MedWish coordinate local donation drop-off locations throughout the community to collect excess items individuals may have in their homes that are in high demand by local health care facilities (such as gloves, masks and hand sanitizer).
  • Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) ($70,000): To provide emergency lodging that will allow unsheltered individuals to remain quarantined before the pandemic reaches its peak. By placing these individuals in emergency lodging, they will have the opportunity to avoid risks associated with sleeping outside and can practice more effective social distancing. Further, NEOCH will be able to centralize outreach and coordinate efforts more effectively since it will be easier to get food and supplies to the people it serves.
  • Senior Transportation Connection (STC) ($60,000): To continue to provide essential medical and food access services to older adults in the community. In many cases, STC serves as a last-resort service for older adults with mobility needs and limited social supports. More than half of those served by STC are 75 years and older, while nearly 60% are low income – two demographic groups identified as particularly vulnerable populations during this crisis.

The partners plan to continue to make grants once a week through June, with the potential to extend grant opportunities as needed and as additional funding resources become available through new partners joining the effort.

How to request support from the Rapid Response Fund

Frontline nonprofits that have pressing needs related to the COVID-19 crisis response should email to receive more information about the streamlined funding process. The funding collaborative will continue to identify potential grantee partners, solicit guidance on proposed projects from community advisors, and recommend final awards. Organizations that have already submitted funding requests will remain in consideration for future grant distributions until further notice.

Based upon the charitable structure of the Rapid Response Fund, grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations and other public entities. The partners are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions, or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) organizations.

Learn more about the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund’s purpose, priorities and grantmaking process here.


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