Opening Up

Community Groups Act Fast to Raise Funds for Nonprofits’ COVID-Related Needs

V1 Staff, photos by Taylor Smith |

(Photo: Taylor Smith)
(Photo: Taylor Smith)

Just like businesses and households, nonprofit organizations expect to be hit hard by the economic consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Several local agencies are stepping up to help nonprofits – especially those who serve vulnerable populations – to stay afloat during these challenging times.

The Eau Claire Community Foundation and the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley announced Monday that they have established a Quick Response Community Fund through the Community Foundation to “rapidly deploy financial resources” to such Eau Claire-area nonprofits.

“This fund is designed to give added support to those organizations experiencing additional stresses on their services due to increased demand, changes in service delivery, reduced volunteer assistance, and increased staffing needs,” said Jan Porath, executive director of United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley. “These are the organizations on the front lines of caring for vulnerable populations and providing a safety net for individuals impacted by the loss of jobs and benefits or the closure of institutions.”

Both organizations are also working with Marshfield Clinic Health Systems and other area foundations, such as the Community Foundation of Dunn County and the Community Foundation of Chippewa County, to support local nonprofits.

“This collaboration in support of local nonprofits is funded by the generosity of the people of our community,” said Sue Bornick, executive director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation. “We also encourage donors to connect with nonprofits that are important to them and find out what help they might need to weather the crisis. Now is the time to come together and look out for the most vulnerable among us.”

According to a media release, “Funds will be granted on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs.” Already, $85,000 has been raised for the Quick Response Community Fund. To learn more or to donate, visit the ECCF website at


A similar effort is underway involving organizations serving Dunn and Pepin counties. The United Way of Dunn County has activated its Disaster Relief Fund at the Community Foundation of Dunn County. According to a media release, “Nonprofits or other community organizations engaging in immediate basic needs relief (that) need financial support now can email Jennifer Thatcher, Executive Director of the United Way of Dunn County, at”

“In order to move resources quickly and not further burden these nonprofit organizations there will not be a formal application process,” the release continued.

Community members interesting in giving are encouraged to make donations directly to the nonprofit organizations they support – many of which have been forced to cancel fundraising events because of the outbreak – as well as consider donating directly to the United Way’s Disaster Fund at the Community Foundation of Dunn County. Go online to learn more.