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Community Response Fund for Nonprofits Grants

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Our Greater Akron community is known for being extremely generous and now it's time for all of us come together to support our neighbors affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

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Akron Community Foundation's intent is to rapidly provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations that are working on the frontlines of educating, engaging, and supporting individuals impacted by COVID-19 and the broader ramifications of this health crisis. We know that as our community deals with the outbreak, you will be the essential sources of information and services, particularly for our community where language, resources, and other factors create barriers to accessing support. As a cross-sector partnership, the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits of Akron Community Foundation is designed to complement the work of Summit County Public Health officials and expand local capacity to address the outbreak as efficiently as possible. 

Funding Priorities

The Community Response Fund for Nonprofits of Akron Community Foundation will support area nonprofit organizations who are assisting individuals directly impacted by this health crisis with basic needs. The funding is meant as a one-time investment to nonprofits who are providing food, clothing, shelter, as well as other necessities for everyday survival. While the fund is not able to provide grants to individuals, it is funding community-based organizations that have the experience and history of providing services and support to our citizens.

Given the dynamic nature of this moment, the fund intends to provide grants on a rolling basis to ensure dollars are deployed in the community quickly and responsively. Active fundraising is underway, which we hope will enable multiple rounds of support as the community needs and challenges evolve, and as we gain greater clarity about this crisis.

Akron Community Foundation and our family of fundholders recognize the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak are likely to overwhelmingly affect communities already facing health and economic disparities, which will perpetuate the inequities that persist in our community. Dollars raised through our Community Response Fund for Nonprofits will go to those organizations who are directly impacting those set back by this crisis.

Examples of potential grants include but not limited to the following: 

  • Critical operational support to nonprofits providing services to those impacted by COVID-19  

  • Immediate basic needs of vulnerable citizens, including food delivery for seniors and additional services for economically insecure populations 

  • Emergency shelter for domestic violence victims impacted by COVID-19 

  • Supplies for health clinics or community-based organizations 

  • Mental health services 

  • Rent/utility assistance to those who cannot afford their monthly payment because of lost work   

Grantmaking Process & Distribution

Akron Community Foundation will administer Community Response Fund for Nonprofits grants but will garner the input of other community leaders such as Summit County Public Health in order to provide grants to the most needed or impacted organizations. It is our intention to ensure that both the scope of the fund and the grants awarded are meeting the greatest needs in communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, we are not able to prioritize organizations who have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs, or larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services.

The review of potential grant investments will ensure resources reach organizations already facing persistent health and economic disparities. COVID-19 is exacerbating those inequities, which are likely to grow as the crisis unfolds. To address this challenge, the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits will target the urgent health and economic needs of disproportionately impacted organizations by leveraging existing relationships with trusted leaders and providers in affected communities.

Nonprofits who meet the criteria can apply now. View a sample of the grant application here. To maximize our impact, grants will not exceed $5,000 to any one organization. Our review team will respond quickly to reallocate grant dollars back into the community.

For more information about the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits, contact John Garofalo at jgarofalo@akroncf.org or Cristina Gonzalez Alcala at cgonzalezalcala@akroncf.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m an individual who’s been affected by COVID-19. Can this fund help me?

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My organization is interested in resources from this fund. Can we be considered?

We understand the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for their services, lost revenue due to closures and cancelations, as well as other challenges. We are working closely with Summit County Public Health and other community organizations to ensure that the grants awarded meet the greatest needs in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?

To ensure we move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to needs of communities most impacted, we are not considering restricted donations at this time. The Community Response Fund for Nonprofits of Akron Community Foundation was created in hopes of providing a way to coordinate as many resources as possible. 

Should I give to this fund instead of making other donations?

The Community Response Fund for Nonprofits was not created to be the only vehicle for getting needed resources into the community, but to help facilitate getting more targeted resources into the community. This is a critical time for so many, including the nonprofit organizations who’ve benefited from your giving in the past, as well as those who’ve had to cancel their annual fundraising events or depend heavily on public gatherings. Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community.   

What will NOT be included in the first phase of funding?

Depending on the amount raised for the fund, we anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs now and the longer-term impacts of the outbreak and recovery. In this first phase, we are prioritizing nonprofit organizations that are serving individuals who are immediately and disproportionately suffering from this crisis. At this time, we are not able to prioritize organizations who have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs, or larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services. 

Based upon the charitable structure of the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits, our grants are limited to 501c3 nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. We are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions, or other 501c4, 501c5, and 501c6 organizations. 

Is there a geographic area of focus for the fund?

The Community Response Fund for Nonprofits will prioritize community-based organizations serving Summit and Medina County residents, with initial preference to those that are housed in Summit County. 

When will you share who you fund?

We anticipate making a first round of investments in the coming weeks and will publish the list of selected grantees on the Akron Community Foundation website, along with short descriptions of the services and support they are providing. We hope that this will help the community navigate available resources. 

Event(s) cancellations have impacted our organization's income, are we eligible to apply?

While we understand many of you rely on events to sustain your organization, at this moment we are prioritizing funding to organizations that are providing basic needs support to those affected by COVID-19.