United Way of Waco-McLennan County and the Waco Foundation have established a fund to help bolster local nonprofits at a time when they’re needed by more people than ever.
The two entities created the COVID-19 Community Response Fund with a $25,000 gift from Waco Foundation and a $100,000 gift from United Way, with Allergan Foundation, L3Harris Technologies, Texas Mutual: Workers Compensation Insurance, Truist Foundation, and Wells Fargo contributing to United Way’s portion. More donations are being sought to build the fund to help local charities meet basic needs during the pandemic.
“Waco Foundation is pleased to partner with the United Way, our business community and local donors to establish this fund,” Ashley Allison, executive director of Waco Foundation, said. “We know many people are eager to help and the COVID-19 Community Response Fund will provide support directly to those impacted most by the current situation.”
The first round of grants will go to Caritas of Waco, Economic Opportunities Advancement Corporation of Waco, Mission Waco and Salvation Army. Barbara Mosacchio, CEO of United Way Waco-McLennan County, said those four organizations have been meeting people’s most immediate needs as unemployment skyrockets throughout the state.
“Those four organizations have been on the front lines,” Mosacchio said.
The fund will help those organizations provide food and groceries, expand feeding programs and create more shelter capacity. Mosacchio said the COVID-19 outbreak has taken a financial toll on nonprofit groups, closing thrift stores and canceling or postponing fundraising events.
“United Way of Waco-McLennan County is grateful to our corporate partners for stepping up to support Greater Waco families,” Mosacchio said. “They are a shining example of good corporate citizenship. We are honored to work with the Waco Foundation and our nonprofit community to ensure these funds get to those who need it most.”
Mosacchio said the crisis has hit the most vulnerable people the hardest, but in time, more people may emerge who have never had to seek assistance.
“They’ll need case management, they’ll probably be using food pantries and have never used them before, they’ll need wraparound services and they may not even know where to go and ask for those kinds of supports,” Mosacchio said.
Businesses and individuals can contribute to the fund at wacofoundation.org/covid.
“It’s a general vehicle for everybody to give to if they want to distribute to vulnerable and poor people impacted by COVID-19,” Allison said.
The COVID-19 Community Response Fund will be housed at Waco Foundation and administered through United Way. As community need and funding exists, additional organizations may be eligible to receive grants from the fund in the future. Organizations can visit wacofoundation.org and unitedwaywaco.org for additional information.
Allison said United Way branches across the country are launching similar efforts as every community tries to cope with the pandemic’s impact, but McLennan County’s poverty rate is higher than the national average to begin with.
“Everyone knows … there have been a lot of people out of work,” Allison said. “We can just assume it’s going to be worse now. It’s going to be harder now, for those people who are poor or on the verge of poverty. We just anticipate that.”
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