A coalition of community funders led by the United Way of Central Indiana has announced the launch of a $16.5 million fund in support of local human services organizations serving individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launched with $15 million from the Lilly Endowment and $500,000 each from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana, the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund will award grants to direct service nonprofits in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, and Morgan counties positioned to meet emerging needs resulting from the crisis. The Central Indiana Community Foundation and Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust also will contribute to the fund.
Given the evolving nature of the situation, the fund has pledged to be flexible and work to ensure that the organizations serving those in need receive emergency funds with a minimal amount of red tape. It also is encouraging nonprofits in the region to work together to develop new and innovative ways to provide services that incorporate concepts of social distancing into their operations and practices.
The fund builds on the experience of Indiana-based funders that came together to establish the Community Economic Relief Fund in response to the Great Recession of 2008-09.
"This coronavirus is not just a health crisis," said United Way of Central Indiana president and CEO Ann Murtlow. “It is also an economic one — the depth and magnitude of which is uncertain. The speed with which the virus has spread and the measures necessary to slow its spread and protect global, national, and local health continue to significantly disrupt our way of life. This requires us to act swiftly and strategically, with collective input from our funders and partners as we prepare for the short-term and long-term impact to Hoosiers in Central Indiana. We are so grateful to them and acknowledge that this couldn’t be done without them."
"We cannot begin to fathom all of the challenges and implications the coronavirus situation will have on our neighbors and our economy," said Ronni Kloth, vice president of community development at the Lilly Endowment. "We believe there certainly could be a significant impact on families that may suffer a loss of income due to unpaid absence, illness, or job loss related directly or indirectly to the virus, increased childcare needs due to school and childcare closures, and the potential risk of not being able to pay housing, utility and food bills due to financial strains. These are daunting challenges, but we are fortunate to be part of a community where people come together in common cause to make a positive difference."