Area nonprofits team up during pandemic
Four regional organizations are teaming up to launch the COVID-19 United Community Funds to ensure that the region’s nonprofit community has support during the current crisis and moving forward.
Seeded with $250,000 from the First Community Foundation Partnership, the funds will allow regional United Ways in Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union Counties to lead the grant-making process and to deploy resources to nonprofits in their regions.
In announcing the partnership, Jennifer Wilson, president of FCFP, said, “Now, more than ever, we are called to explore new ways of thinking, to breakdown geographic boundaries and to identify collaborative opportunities in order to meet the needs of our communities. Partnerships have never been more important and we invite the community to join with us.”
Funds that are raised will be allocated to separate community funds defined by each United Way’s geographic territory. Grant making efforts will be overseen by each United Way and key stakeholders in their communities.
“There are four funds that you can contribute to. That’s why it says COVID-19 community funds.” said Ron Frick, president and CEO of the Lycoming County United Way. “Under that umbrella you can contribute to either a fund in Sullivan and Tioga County, a fund in Lycoming County, a fund in Snyder, Union and Northumberland county and fund in Columbia-Montour.”
The seed money from FCFP will cover the initial funds for the four United Ways initially, Frick said, but the United Ways will put some money in and the rest will be obtained through fundraising.
The non-profits and the people they assist focus on the area of supporting the vulnerable in communities, ensuring basic needs such as housing, food, education, safety, healthcare and transportation are met, helping displaced workers and disruptions to the economy and supporting nonprofit funding streams impacted by the loss of income.
Although at this time the Lycoming County United Way has not seen an increase in nonprofits requesting assistance, Frick said that he is concerned about what comes after the pandemic is over.
“Every couple of days a new edict comes down and people are just trying to stay ahead of what’s the next thing,” Frick said.
“What I’m really concerned about as an organization is what does this look like two or three months from now when this is all over. I think the system is going to get stressed,” he said.
‘Once we get through the healthcare part of it, what’s the economic part going to look like when people are trying to reopen? I think there’s going to be more people that are going to be out of work and looking for services that our partners provide.”
“We want to be prepared for both the response which is now and the recovery, which is later,” Frick added.
Grant requests may be accepted as early as April 6.
Gifts to the COVID-19 United Community Funds can be made at www.ncpagives.org.