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Responding When Disaster Strikes: CCCF’s COVID-19 Response

Like many people, we’ve started signing our meals and ending phone calls with “hope you’re staying well and safe” or similar in place of more cheery wishes. “Looking forward to seeing you soon!” doesn’t feel quite right, unless we add a caveat, “on Zoom.” “All the best!” doesn’t work, unless it’s followed by “during this difficult time.” The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of uncertainty, and so many people in our community are experiencing more hardship than anyone predicted. Here at Central Carolina Community Foundation, we’re prepared to act when the going gets tough, and we couldn’t do it without your generous support.

We always strive to meet the needs of the community and, unfortunately, the most pressing needs don’t happen on schedule. COVID-19 has created plenty of hardship, all of it unexpected, and we’ve been doing everything we can to help. Grants have been provided through the One SC Fund, first established to support nonprofit organizations that provided relief and recovery assistance in 24 counties after the historic flood in 2015. Since its inception, the fund has been activated in response to other state-declared disasters, including Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence. Activated in early March, the One SC Fund: Covid-19 Response, is a partnership between SC Grantmakers Network, Together SC, and the United Way of the Midlands.

We’re proud to manage the funds for this partnership and to do our part in responding to food, shelter, health, and nonprofit sustainability needs resulting from the pandemic. We’re all in this together, and our community won’t recover unless we pool our resources to do as much as possible to help those in need. Since the One SC Fund was activated in response to COVID-19, we have received more than $2.9 million in donations. To date, 93 grants have been awarded totaling $2,953,840.

The One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response grantmaking collaboration has been particularly rewarding as the partnership has grown to include a mix of community, nonprofit, and foundation leaders. Because these leaders come from all over the state, we’re able to identify needs in counties outside of our normal service area. By examining data and working with people from all over South Carolina, we’ve been able to make sure our grants are deployed to nonprofit organizations helping the people who need it most. Members of our team have been joined by staff from United Way of the Midlands to manage the administrative, financial, and grantmaking processes.  This work, like our previous work with the One SC Fund, is done voluntarily – we don’t charge fees. This allows all of the funds raised to go where they’re needed most, directly to organizations helping those in need throughout the state.

The One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response isn’t the only way we’re helping fill the gaps in other response efforts. The Midlands Community Response Fund was established in March of this year when the pandemic began to change lives. Grants from this fund provide valuable resources to nonprofit organizations in our 11-county region. We’re focused on groups who are at greater risk during this difficult time, including senior citizens, people who are health compromised, part-time and seasonal workers, and families and individuals who were already struggling to find housing. To date, this fund has raised more than $176,000, and nine organizations have been awarded grants totaling $58,000. The remaining funds will be awarded soon, to help our community survive the pandemic.

For our community to survive and continue to grow and thrive, we believe it’s important to expand our grants beyond basic needs like food and shelter. We worked with our Knight Foundation advisor to award $315,500 to 17 local arts nonprofits through Knight’s Donor Advised Fund at CCCF. Our Foundation’s Community Investment Team also reached out to all current grantees and ultimately converted 37 grants, totaling $360,000, to general operating support grants. We’re committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in the Midlands, even during the most difficult times.

Interested in joining our efforts? You can donate to the One SC Fund or the Midlands Community Response Fund today. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can help the community survive and thrive, please contact us. We sincerely hope you’re staying safe and healthy, and we’re so thankful for your efforts to help others do the same.