Hosted by United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley, in partnership with Valley Assistance Network, the COVID-19 Relief Fund will provide flexible resources to organizations in our region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak.
Since March 2020, United Way NSV has provided more than $180,000 to 20 local nonprofits through this fund. Grant funding has supported mobile feeding programs, childcare, transportation, eviction prevention and other emergent needs affecting families due to COVID-19.
Beginning in November 2020, we have shifted the focus from basic needs and response to long-term recovery and rebuilding. The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund continues to support critical safety net needs, while also anticipating the rebuilding of our community and the charting of a course toward a new normal, in which racial and economic disparities are addressed and in which every person has equal access to opportunities. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations meeting critical needs and contributing to rebuilding our community following the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on resilience: resilient individuals, resilient communities, and a resilient safety net.
Building resilient individuals focuses on programs and activities which build healthy interpersonal relationships, productive coping mechanisms, and peaceful conflict management so that individuals are better prepared to take advantage of life’s opportunities. Building resilient communities focuses on programs and activities which assure that community members engage strong support networks to more effectively navigate or mitigate hardship. And building a resilient safety net focuses on programs and activities which support individuals’ basic physiological and safety needs.
Grants will be dispersed to agencies within the UWNSV catchment area of the City of Winchester, Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah and Page counties that are directly supporting local residents and families who are most affected by emerging health, economic and social impacts.
TOTAL RELIEF FUND DOLLARS RAISED TO DATE (7/30/2021):
- $102,259.33 in private donations
- $100,000 United Way matching dollars
- Total: $202,259.33
Highland Food Pantry - $10,000 Grant
Highland Food Pantry proposes to use these funds to provide emergency financial assistance to those impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Funds will be used to assist with utilities, medical and prescription needs, car repairs and insurance, child care and other needs as may be determined on a case by case basis. We will require documentation that clients were employed prior to March 2020 and that their current unemployment was a result of the pandemic. A $100 cap of funds will be available to each family. The COVID-19 Is the emergency that will send many ALICE families into poverty. The $100 won’t stop everything, but it will help with immediate needs and give clients the opportunity to seek unemployment benefits or additional employment. We will be able to help 100 local families with immediate relief.
FaithWorks -$10,000 Grant
Faithworks will prioritize providing rent/mortgage assistance to households throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley struggling to make their next rent/mortgage payment because of a sudden job loss or drastically reduced hours associated with the COVID-19 mandates. As funding is available, Faithworks will also assist to fill in the gaps for assistance with utility bills, and other unmet needs as warranted.
All applicants will need to provide documentation from their employer stating when they started working reduced hours or became temporarily unemployed because of an unexpected slow down/shut down associated with the Coronavirus. If applicant is out of work due to childcare issues, a statement will be requested from the childcare provider. Additionally, an assessment will be made on all households regarding the other resources they have accessed (i.e. unemployment, other employment, paid time off, other organizations, etc.) All applicants will also need to provide a statement from their landlord showing that all past rent/mortgage payments have been paid as of the date of the application, and that the assistance they are seeking is for upcoming/current rent. The same policy applies for utility bills. Assistance with COVID-19 emergency funds will only be provided for current rent and utility bills, not past due balances. Documentation for assistance with other needs will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Setting limits on rent/mortgage assistance is difficult since there is such a wide range in this community. As much as possible, Faithworks will limit assistance per household to $800 with the option to evaluate on a case-by-case basis in order to fully meet the most critical needs in the most effective and efficient way possible.
BLUE RIDGE HOUSING NETWORK - $10,000 GRANT
Sinclair Health Clinic - $5,000 Grant
Salvation Army (Winchester) - $2,500 Grant
Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging - $2,500 Grant
AbbaCare - $500 Grant
Community Care and Learning Center - $1,650 Grant
To help with supplies and cover the cost of registration fees for childcare for essential employees.
SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties - $1,000 Grant
To provide pet food and emergency vet bills to pet owners who are in crisis due to COVID-19.
Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington - $3,000 Grant
To provide emergency motel accomodation assistance to people in the community whose primary residence has been a motel and are struggling due to the healthcare crisis and have been laid off by their job. We will use these funds to assist 10-15 families stay in hotels during the crisis.
Page One of Page County - $10,000 Grant
The grant will increase resiliency in disproportionately affected communities by addressing the immediate, unmet needs of working families due to the sudden loss of income caused by COVID-19 related closures. Immediate, unmet needs may include:
- Rent Assistance $2,000 We are prioritizing direct help to people with their rent as we see unprecedented numbers of individuals facing housing insecurity as a result of COVID-19. Relief caps are set on a case-by-case basis.
- Utility Assistance $3,000 Our biggest increase in demand under COVID-19 has been a need for help with electrical bills as more community members and their families are stuck at home all day without a steady paycheck to count on. At our utility assistance cap of $200, this money would save at least 15 families from eviction in one month. With average-sized families and the variability of bills, that could amount to saving over a hundred individuals from debt and eviction.
- Food for Pantry $4,500 Along with the loss of wages, we have seen both an increase in need for food and new inquiries from people who have never needed our assistance until this crisis. This is especially challenging, as all levels of the food bank supply chain have had to change their person-to-person models. We are adapting, and this includes continuing to procure what we can at a discounted rate. Even when that is not the case, we always coordinate bulk buys, seasonal tactics, and other approaches to stretch our dollars.
- Pantry Supplies $250 COVID-19 supply needs include gloves, masks, and sanitizer.
- Pantry Freight $250 Delivery is important now (more than ever) as our person-to-person model evolves to keep everyone safe. In addition to our usual delivery avenues, non-pantry employees and pantry volunteers have taken on increased delivery responsibilities. We want to be sensitive to their expenses and concerns, including paying for gas.
Healthy Families of Northern Shenandoah Valley - $2,500 Grant
To provide emergency diapers, wipes and formula for families with babies in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
AIDS Response Effort (ARE) - $3,000 Grant
To provide emergency utility assistance to families facing a crisis beyond their control. ARE will assist families who would normally have the means to pay their utilities, but due to a loss of income or employment are unable to pay for themselves.
Bright Futures - $5,000 Grant
To provide food and food supplies to continue to feed students while school is closed due to COVID-19. About 900 students in Winchester Public Schools and Frederick County Public Schools received weekend packs every Friday during the school year. When Schools are closed the students contine to need food. Need has increased due to the pressure to feed children 7 days a week. As of 3/23/2020 Bright Futures saw an increase to 1339 students requesting food. Funds will go to purchase more food and support the children who are a part of the program. Each family with students taking part in the program was contacted and confirmed a change in the ability to provide food for the children due to COVID-19, saying that it has created a greater need for food in their family.
FaithWorks - $10,000 Grant
Faithworks will continue to provide rent/mortgage assistance to households throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley struggling to make their next rent/mortgage payment because of a sudden job loss or drastically reduced hours associated with the COVID-19 mandates. As funding is available, Faithworks will also assist to fill in the gaps for assistance with utility bills, and other unmet needs as warranted. Documentation is required from all applicants to include a current paystub, a letter from their employer stating when they started working reduced hours or became temporarily unemployed because of an unexpected slow down/shut down associated with the Coronavirus. If applicant is out of work due to childcare issues, a statement will be requested from the childcare provider. Additionally, an assessment will be made on all households regarding the other resources they have accessed (i.e. unemployment, other employment, paid time off, other organizations, etc.) All applicants will also need to provide landlord information and verify that the assistance they are seeking is for upcoming/current rent. The same policy applies for utility bills. Assistance with COVID-19 emergency funds will only be provided for current rent and utility bills, not past due balances. Documentation for assistance with other needs will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The Compassion Cupboard of Strasburg - $5,000 Grant
To provide food for children and adults who are going without within the Strasburg area. Last year Compassion Cupboard of Strasburg served 957 families. The organization spends about $1,000 each month buying food. With the projected pandemic outcome for the next several months, they expect that number to increase 30 – 100%.
Brain Injury Connections of the Shenandoah Valley - $1,000 Grant
Brain Injury Connections of the Shenandoah Valley (BICSV) received a grant to purchase care packages and gift cards for food, gas, medication, and other household items for high-risk individuals living in Page and Shenandoah Counties.
Blue Ridge Housing Network - $10,00 Grant
BRHN received an additional $10,000 to assist with rental and mortgage assistance. See previous grant above for more information.
Blue Ridge Legal Services- $500 Grant
BRLS received a $500 grant to provide advocacy and education materials for eviction prevention. VAN has been working closely with them to prepare for a tsunami of evictions that we’re expecting.
Page One - $10,000 Grant
Page One will receive a second $10,000 grant to continue operating a food pantry and provide ﬁnancial assistance for prescriptions, medical care, rent and utilities. See previous grant above for more information.
Horizon Goodwill - $1,000 Grant
HGI will use the $1,000 provided by the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley to support persons that are in need of transportation to work. As the bus routes are limited at this time there are employees that lack transportation to and from employment. Additionally, there are residents that have seen a decrease in hours and income related to the COVID-19 crisis resulting in an inability to pay for transportation either via taxi, UBER/LYFT, or personal vehicle. Funds will be expended to ensure that residents are provided up to two (2) weeks transportation assistance round trip for employment. Additionally, transportation assistance will be offered to persons that have lost employment as a result of COVID-19 to interviews to reenter the workforce. In this time an HGI case manager will also be meeting with recipients to ensure that they are able to secure stable transportation moving forward. Case management support will also ensure that reciepents of assistance are accessing all community resources necessary for them to recover financially from the COVID-19 crisis. Payments will be made directly by HGI to transportation provider for services money will not be given directly to participants. Case manager will remain in contact with participants ensuring that they are indeed going to work as scheduled and supporting them in developing long term transportation plan.
Bright Futures - $2,500 Grant
The requested funds will be used to purchase household products, laundry detergent, diapers, hygiene items needed to continue to support those already enrolled in the program and those that have reached out many of which are ALICE families that do not have funds to purchase these vital items. Without proper cleaning products, families are not able to successfully fight off the virus.
SPCA OF WINCHESTER, FREDERICK, AND CLARKE COUNTIES - $1,500 GRANT
To provide pet food and emergency vet bills to pet owners who are in crisis due to COVID-19. This is their second grant from the COVID-19 relief fund.
The Kids club nsv - $5,000 grant
Catholic Charities - $3,000 Grant
Faithworks - $10,000 Grant
Our Health - $500 Grant
Highland Food Pantry - $10,000 Grant
Faithworks - $10,000 Grant
(4th round of funding)
Horizon Goodwill - $1,000
(2nd round of funding)
Bright Futures - $7,000
(3rd round of funding)
The Kids Club of the Northern Shenandoah Valley - $5,000
(4th found of Funding)
Working families, especially ALICE families cannot afford the extra expense of sending their child somewhere when they would have previously been in school. Our fees are the lowest in the area for day time care while not in school. But even at $50 a week for a child, many families struggle. Someone living as ALICE simply cannot afford an extra $200 a month bill in their budget during normal times. Many parents are very recently returning to work or have experienced reduction in their hours on with their jobs. Their household survival budgets do not currently have any excess funds available to provide their child with a safe place to be while they work. Simply put there was not enough time to prepare for their kids to be distance learning and out of school 3 days a week. And for some, even if there was more time to plan, their budgets still could not support paying $50 a week for assistance.
Page One of Page County - $5,000
(4th round of funding)
This is vital as more people become evicted and/or face back payments as initial COVID-19 protections are lifted. We are prioritizing direct help to people with their rent as we see unprecedented numbers of individuals facing housing insecurity as a result of COVID-19. Relief caps are set on a case-by-case basis.
As with the above, initial protections in terms of utility payments are in the process of being lifted. That means many may face a cold winter of home isolation even as their electricity/heat has been cut off. It is no wonder that our biggest i ncrease i n demand under COVID-19 has been a need for help with electrical bills as more community members and their families are stuck at home all day without a steady paycheck to count on. At our utility assistance cap of $200, this money would save around 10 families from eviction each month.
Food for Pantry
Along with the loss of wages, we have seen both an increase in need for food and new inquiries from people who have never needed our assistance until this crisis. This always gets worse in the winter months, and COVID-19 will exacerbate this. This is especially challenging, as all levels of the food bank supply chain have had to change their person-to-person models. We are adapting, and this includes continuing to procure what we can at a discounted rate, but many of our supplies are facing challenges that make discounts impossible. Even so, we always coordinate bulk buys, seasonal tactics, and other approaches to stretch our dollars.
To help with rent (for people who are not able to access the State Rent and Mortgage Relief Fund). We recommend the full request as rent and mortgage continues to be the biggest need and there is little assistance available since CARES ended.
Highland Food Pantry -$5,000
For utility bills. We recommend the full request. They are extremely diligent about maximizing the funds by partnering with First Presbyterian Church, CCAP, their Highland Funds, and Catholic Charities, so it stretches the funds.
To support a warming center during the day for people experiencing homelessness. Our recommendation is $3,500 because it is for staff costs and not direct services. We also adjusted their United Way impact grant to support staffing due to COVID-19.
Blue Ridge Legal Services - $500
To cover the cost of birth certificates and ID’s. They started this program this summer and we have been able to refer a lot of people. This funding will include the 9 people who applied for birth certificates at Project Connect! We know these documents are vital to people getting new employment.
Horizon Goodwill - $1,000
To provide transportation assistance for people to get to work. This is their third grant for transportation since COVID and they have had really great outcomes. VAN has recently had several requests for gas cards so we invited them to apply to help fill this need.
Total Distributed as of 1/22/2020:
ABOUT COVID-19 Relief Fund Grants:
As a result of the generous donations to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, grants will be made available to agencies in our region meeting the immediate, unmet needs of communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Grants will be dispersed to agencies within the United Way NSV catchment area of the City of Winchester, Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah and Page counties that are directly supporting local residents and families who are most affected by emerging health, economic and social impacts. Funds will be released on a rolling basis, as quickly as possible, as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis. All grants will be publically disclosed here on United Way NSV's website. United Way NSV will request basic reports on the use of all grant funds with a description of the assistance provided to members of the community. 100% of all funds granted are to be used to provide direct assistance to those affected.
These grants are meant to increase resiliency in disproportionately affected communities by addressing the immediate, unmet needs of working families due to sudden loss of income caused by COVID-19 related closures. Immediate, unmet needs may include:
- Food and food supplies
- Prescription and medical supplies
- Mortgage payments for homes or businesses/Rental assistance
- Car repairs or payments
- Utility payments
- Child care
United Way will require documentation that clients proposed to be helped by grant funding were employed prior to March 2020 and that their current unemployment was a result of the pandemic.
Agencies receiving grants are also requred to submit the following doccumentation:
In order to be eligible to receive grant funds, agencies must submit the following required documentation:
- IRS 501(c)3 Letter
- 2018 or 2019 IRS Form 990
- Verification of being legally incorporated and registered in Virginia
As a grantee, Non-Profits also must agree to the following:
- Grantee shall expend the funds exclusively to provide direct assistance to local families for immediate, unmet needs caused by the sudden loss of income due to the impacts of COVID-19. Funding cannot be used for operating costs.
- Grantee agrees to return any part of the grant funds not used for the stated purpose of this grant.
- Grantee agrees to complete a report on the use of these funds with a description of the direct assistance provided to United Way NSV by September 1, 2020. If services are still ongoing, the grantee will work with United Way NSV to determine an appropriate timeline for reporting. If services have completed and funds have not been expended the grantee agrees to return unused funds at that time.
- Grantee shall maintain an accurate accounting record and retain records of disbursements related to the expenditure of grant funds. This information is to be included in grant reports to United Way NSV.
- If the grantee is awarded funds more than once, the grantee shall complete a report for each separate amount awarded.
- Grantee shall notify Jennifer Hall, Director of Community Engagement, to address challenges in deploying these resources.
- Grantee shall acknowledge the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley as a partner in these efforts.
- Should the grantee fail to adhere to the requirements above, they will not be eligible for future funding support from United Way NSV.