April 16, 2020

Cameron Foundation launches new resources for local nonprofits, school divisions affected by COVID-19 crisis

In response to the impact the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis is having on the local public and nonprofit sectors, The Cameron Foundation has launched several new resources to support the changing needs of these community-serving organizations. The Foundation recently announced its COVID-19 Emergency Grant Program; a special grant fund for the technology needs of school systems in the Tri-Cities area; and, technical assistance for groups seeking financial relief through the CARES Act.

“While all of our daily lives are affected by COVID-19, The Cameron Foundation has taken on a special role to work with our community partners through this crisis,” said Board Chair Pam Martin Comstock. She added, “Many of these organizations were already focused on serving vulnerable populations, so the addition of this public health crisis places exceptional demands on them to continue their missions.”

The Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Grant Program is designed to address some key areas affecting both the organizations themselves as well as the services they provide in the Tri-Cities and surrounding counties. The key areas include Health and Safety, Education, General Operating Support and Technology. Past and current grantees of The Cameron Foundation are eligible to apply for up to $20,000 of this emergency funding to support needs that have resulted from the current crisis. Applicants must meet the Foundation’s eligibility requirements according to its grant guidelines and must provide a program and budget justification for their emergency need.

Working in tandem with the COVID-19 Emergency Grants Program, the Foundation’s Board also has approved a special fund for local school divisions to address technological gaps as they shift their instruction online. The School System Technology Infrastructure Grants program allows school systems in The Cameron Foundation’s service area to apply for a one-time grant of up to $50,000 to assist with establishing digital learning platforms. J. Todd Graham, President of The Cameron Foundation, explained that this need surfaced through staff discussions with the school divisions about emerging needs. “District superintendents informed Cameron staff that they needed the most help in extending both broadband access and hardware to students while transitioning to virtual learning plans.” The technology grants will allow for the provision of resources such as mobile hotspots for students who might not otherwise have full access.

Additionally, recognizing the need for additional internal capacity supports for nonprofits, The Cameron Foundation has engaged its contract Chief Financial Officer, Randy Howard, and his firm, 501Advisors, to provide one-on-one support for grantees who need assistance applying for the loan and relief funds under the CARES Act. These programs include the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program as well as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Organizations that are current or former grantees of the Foundation are eligible to benefit from this service and are asked to email COVID19@501Advisors.com for further assistance.

“We encourage our grantees to avail themselves of these new resources, and we also ask them to stay in communication with us about any emergent needs,” Graham said. “As we work our way through this crisis, we want to keep our focus on sustaining the nonprofit sector that supports this region,” he added.

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