Three local organizations that had been working on their own fundraising efforts for locals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have consolidated their efforts into the Community Emergency Response Fund. Charlottesville and Albemarle County are partners in the effort.
The fund was set up by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, and combines the work of Cville Community Cares, United Way of Greater Charlottesville, Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
CACF, United Way and Cville Community Cares had each set up their own fundraising efforts. Brennan Gould, president and chief executive officer of CACF, said that the partnership was formed “in order to promote an efficient, low-barrier and accessible process to distribute financial and other support that will stabilize households across the region.”
“The decision to come together was rooted in a belief that we all have unique strengths and resources to bring to this work and that this challenge is far bigger than any one organization can address on its own,” Gould said.
The Cville Community Cares team, a group of area individuals who organized to help the community, had started fundraising to help people who were put in a financial bind by COVID-19. The group had collected through online forms requests for $200 mini-grants and material support, such as groceries, from those affected. Congregate Charlottesville, a 501©3 organization, agreed to distribute the money.
Christina Rivera, co-president of Congregate Charlottesville, said Cville Community Cares was given a $16,000 matching donation to start, and that the group has raised $57,000.
“We funded the vast majority of the requests that we got in, but even as we were coming to the end of that, we could see that we were going to have more requests than we had funds for,” she said.
Cville Community Cares has distributed about $95,000 to people who requested assistance.
“The community foundation funded that gap,” Rivera said. “In total, we will end up using those funds to fully disperse all of the requests that we got that we were able to approve for filling.”
More than $2 million has been raised for the Community Emergency Response Fund with donations from the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, Batten Family Fund, Adiuvans Relief Fund, Quantitative Foundation, two anonymous donors, United Way of Greater Charlottesville, Wells Fargo, Tremaine Family Foundation and the support of more than 200 other contributors. Donations can be made at cacfonline.org.
Those in need can call (434) 234-4490 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to talk to someone who will help decide if the fund is the right fit or if other programs are better, Gould said. The amount of support will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Households in Charlottesville and Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson and Orange counties are eligible to receive help from the Community Emergency Response Fund.
Gould said the partnership also is learning about the needs of community-based organizations that are providing food, housing and medical supplies, and that it will announce next steps in a process to support organizations as resources allow.
“Because this is a rapidly changing situation with a number of unknowns, we have not earmarked funds in any concrete way at this time in terms of how much to individuals and how much to community based organizations,” she said. “All of the funds raised are focused on these two strategies right now and we aim to deploy them across our service area in ways that are most helpful to stabilizing households.”
There are many other efforts to raise funds for those who have lost their jobs.
New City Arts and The Bridge have launched Charlottesville Emergency Relief Fund for Artists for Charlottesville-area artists who have lost income due to the cancellation of specific, scheduled gigs or opportunities due to COVID-19.
Artists from Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, or Nelson counties are able to request $300 from the fund.
Kate Ellwood, a former general manager at Citizen Burger Bar, started the Charlottesville Restaurant Community Fund through GoFundMe to help local restaurant workers who have been laid off from their jobs, which has raised more than $28,000.
Easton Porter Group, which operates Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards and Red Pump Kitchen, has started a GoFundMe for its employees.
“Laying off our employees was an extremely difficult and painful decision,” Dean Porter Andrews, Easton Porter Group co-founder and CEO, said in a statement on the page. “Our goal is to do everything possible to make sure that once we get through this crisis, we are stable enough to reopen our businesses. We hope that, with your help and generosity, these layoffs will be temporary and we can mitigate some of the struggles our employees will now face.”
Natasha Lawler, a UVa Children’s Advisory Board member, and Jennifer Eberline are raising money to buy UVa nurses $50 gift cards to local restaurants and are asking community members to make cards for the nurses.
The gift cards will first go to nurses at UVa, but the pair is hoping to expand the effort to nurses at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, as well as first responders, paramedics, doctors and other healthcare workers.
Handmade cards can be dropped off in a plastic bin at 1415 Dairy Road in Charlottesville, or email email@example.com for a mailing address.
Additionally, after local pediatrician Dr. Paige Perriello sounded the alarm about low levels of personal protective equipment for health care workers, the group Support Cville, which is organizing information about various local aid groups on its website, started an effort called Equip Cville, to gather needed masks, gloves, cleaners and other gear.
The group is collecting donations and physical goods can be dropped off daily at Champion Brewing Company from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.