In the two weeks since the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation has set up a Community Emergency Relief Fund and raised more than $2 million. Now, it has joined forces with Cville Community Cares, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to disburse funds to area residents in need of immediate assistance.
The alliance of groups will make payments to households in the Thomas Jefferson Health District, which is made up of the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson and Orange counties.
As of March 23, people in need of support can reach out by phone on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and multiple languages will be available.
“As a region of interconnected people, we have the opportunity and responsibility to care for one another,” Brennan Gould, president and CEO of CACF, said. “I am extremely grateful to the generous donors who have contributed to this effort so far. Philanthropy is well positioned to be nimble, responsive, and creative in times of crisis.”
The partnership also helps to create a consolidated point of contact for financial aid.
“By partnering with the Community Foundation, Cville Community Cares, the city and the county, we endeavor to eliminate confusion and anxiety about where our fellow community members can turn for resources, while providing donors an opportunity to have an immediate and unified impact,” said Ravi Respeto, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Charlottesville.
The partnership leverages philanthropic support recently received with public resources to “expand the breadth of what we can do together,” Gould said.
Meanwhile, the partnership also allows each organization to build upon the charitable efforts they each make for the communities in the area.
According to the team at Cville Community Cares, they managed to distribute funds to about 130 households in the span of five days and had requests from about a thousand more.
“We welcome this new partnership, which will allow us to scale up what worked so well from that effort to reach more people across the region,” the team said in a statement.
The Cville Community Cares team also is providing support through grocery delivery and prescription delivery.
CACF plans to make targeted grants to community-based organizations to help provide food, housing and medical supplies in surrounding counties in the Health District.
The grants will stem from CACF’s Emergency Relief Fund, which is composed of more than 200 donations. Gould asserts that the partnership is one of the strategies to deploy the Emergency funds, and that more details will be shared as other opportunities arise.
“We recognize that this crisis has left no one untouched,” Gould said. “Our nonprofit grant partners, as well as businesses, schools, government, the medical community, and other initiatives are navigating not only a loss of routine and security, but also are now carrying new, heavy loads as they care for and protect others. We do not know how long this initial phase of support will be needed, and we will explore additional strategies for the Fund as our region acclimates to the fast-changing situation.”