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YOU CAN HELP: Here Are the Collective Efforts to Meet Chippewa Valley Charities' Needs

collaborative efforts underway in Eau Claire, Dunn, and Chippewa counties

Olivia Kroner |

As the days of self-isolation start to bleed into one another, waiting out the coronavirus pandemic might have you feeling there’s nothing you can do to help. After all, what’s there to do when you can’t leave your house? However, there are plenty of nonprofit organizations in the Chippewa Valley that could use your help. Because nonessential businesses and organizations have had to close their doors for the duration of the state’s “Safer at Home” order, the Chippewa Valley’s nonprofits are struggling; operations have been suspended, fundraisers have been postponed or cancelled, and people who rely on these organizations have been left to go without.

“There is no ‘owner’s manual’ for this unprecedented situation we are all navigating through, but one thing is certain: We will do it together,” said Sue Bornick, executive director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation.

“There is no ‘owner’s manual’ for this unprecedented situation we are all navigating through, but one thing is certain: We will do it together,” said Sue Bornick, executive director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation.

Karen Hebert, interim executive director of United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, had to agree: “Nobody has ever faced this before, and nobody knows who’s vulnerable,” she said.

Quick Response Community Fund

Combining the efforts of the Eau Claire Community Foundation and United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, the Quick Response Community Fund was created. True to its name, the Quick Response Community Fund has been rapidly providing grants and resources to nonprofits struggling to keep up with what the pandemic is requiring of them. As of April 17, the Quick Response Community Fund had awarded $223,850 to more than 30 nonprofits in the Eau Claire area after only three weeks of operation. The Quick Response Community Fund is also accepting donations from the community, which can be made online at eccfwi.org, or mailed to the foundation (Attention: Quick Response Community Fund or QRCF), 306 S. Barstow St., Suite 104, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

Together Chippewa Valley

Another great resource that was formed to help local nonprofits is Together Chippewa Valley. Announced in a press release on April 2, Together Chippewa Valley is a coalition of more than a dozen nonprofit organizations who have banded together to raise funds for the needs of the community during the COVID-19 crisis. The organizations include staples of the Chippewa Valley such as the Pablo Center at the Confluence, the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, and the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, among others. As of April 21, Together Chippewa Valley had raised $46,390, half of which was raised by the community, and half that was matched with a grant from the Pablo Foundation. Donors can contribute virtually at togetherchippewavalley.org, or send checks to Visit Eau Claire Foundation (in care of Together Chippewa Valley) at 128 Graham Avenue, No. 234, Eau Claire, WI 54701, with checks payable to “Visit Eau Claire Foundation.”

Chippewa County

Groups in Eau Claire aren’t the only ones working toward aiding the community during this time. In Chippewa Falls, the Community Foundation of Chippewa County has created the Response-Recovery-Rebuild Fund. Similar to the Quick Response Community Fund, the Response-Recovery-Rebuild Fund aims to provide grants to nonprofits in the area in the midst of the crisis. Should the fund garner more than what is required of the coronavirus pandemic, that money will be kept in case it is needed for future relief. Donations to the Response-Recovery-Rebuild Fund can be made online at yourlegacyforever.org or by check sent to P.O. Box 153, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729 (make them out to “Community Foundation of Chippewa County”).

Dunn County

Likewise, in Menomonie the Community Foundation of Dunn County and United Way of Dunn County have partnered to create the United Way Disaster Relief Fund. This fund will not only benefit those in Dunn County, but also the communities of neighboring Pepin County. Like the other relief funds that have been created during this time, all credit card and administrative fees will be waived to ensure that 100% of the funds go to the nonprofits who need the support the most. Community members are encouraged to donate online at cfdunncounty.org. Checks can also be mailed to The Community Foundation of Dunn County at P.O. Box 498, Menomonie, WI 54751, made payable to “The Community Foundation/COVID 19.”

While donating is a great way to help your community right now, Hebert of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley recommends that you follow your heart when choosing to give back. “People can give confidently in any way that makes sense to them,” she said. “Time, talent, or treasure.”

And to a nonprofit organization in a time like this, truly no gift is too small.