During this time of uncertainty and isolation with the coronavirus (COVID-19),  the Otsego Community Foundation is deeply concerned about how this will impact the most vulnerable in our community. Our community has always been committed to coming together in supporting each other during times of crisis and ensuring those who struggle financially and economically are supported in every way possible. Collaboration and partnerships are more valuable than ever before.  Knowing that because of COVID-19 and all its layers, many of our nonprofit partners will see an increase in clients and have less time to raise fund to support their work, with this in mind the OCF established the COVID-19 Response Fund.

Purpose:  Granting critical support to local agencies providing vital services such as access to food, personal care items, services for senior citizens and overall basic needs.

How it works:  The OCF team stays connected to nonprofit partners by hosting Nonprofit Exchange, a weekly conference call to share updates. Additionally, nonprofits can complete this brief survey to keep us in the loop https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/community-needs-COVID-19.

Each week the OCF staff compiles the requests and distributes them with the grant committee.  Based on the amount of money raised, the committee recommends what organizations should receive support.

 To date $32,000 has been awarded to the following organizations:

Giving Tree Food Pantry (Johannesburg) – purchase a semi-truck full of food

Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital Foundation – greatest needs

Otsego County United Way – an array of basic needs from personal care items, gas and transportation assistance, propane, and prescriptions.  In addition a $5000 grant was matched by DTE Energy Foundation, securing $10,000 for the United Way.

Otsego County Food Pantry – surge in clients, 3/23 doubled their largest day in history.

Otsego County Commission on Aging – meal delivery for homebound seniors

New Life Pregnancy Resource Center – supply formula, diapers and wipes

Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan – grant to help with additional cost keeping women and children safe with stay home regulations including technology for counseling.

Additionally, in partnership with Otsego County United Way, we have established HUGS (Help Us Giveback to Servers), which provides gift certificates to employees of local businesses. A way to say thank you to local business for their years of support and a boost to their employees during difficult times.

“While we have seen an immediate increase in needs throughout our community, we also must prepare for the future.  We anticipate an increase for nonprofit capacity support in the next year, as the need for their services has increased, the cost to provide those services has increased (many have had to utilize technology, etc), and additionally revenue is down from absence of annual events,” says Dana Bensinger, OCF Executive Director.  “There are many challenges ahead but we are optimistic that if we collaborate and work together we will overcome. If those who can give, make a gift that is meaningful to them, the collective amount will make a big difference.”

To learn more about the COVID-19 Response Fund click here.