Community Foundation launches way for you to help local charities

Community Foundation North Okanagan Announces “BETTER TOGETHER- COVID-19 Community Response Fund” to support local charities helping people in need


“We need to come together and pool funding to get out to the charities serving our vulnerable population right now. There is some great government funding coming through, but it doesn’t cover everything, and it won’t be coming fast enough,” according to Leanne Hammond, executive director of the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan. (CFNO) In response to the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the Foundation has created the BETTER TOGETHER – COVID-19 Community Response Fund. This fund is a rapid response fund to support the work of our front line organizations working together to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are safe and healthy.

As Hammond notes, “This is a challenging time for everyone and we know that it has compounded the struggles of some more than others. Low income families are likely now ‘no income’ families, seniors who have been told to stay home are finding getting groceries and supplies challenging, mental health issues are being exacerbated, and foodbanks are seeing donations and food drop offs drying up.”

A recent emergency Community Foundation grant to the Salvation Army House of Hope Foodbank has ensured that no one goes hungry and no one gets forgotten at this trying time. As Annette Sharkey, Executive Director of the Social Planning Council, announced last week, “With funding from the Community Foundation a group of dedicated organizations and individuals put a “Plan B” into action immediately!” More emergency grants are slated to go out by the end of the week and early next week. According to Herb Wong, Community Foundation of the North Okanagan board chair, upwards of $50,000 is slated to go out within the next week to help groups adjust to the new reality that is COVID-19, “Social distancing has completely changed how many charities need to deliver their programs. It’s amazing how quickly some have been able to change over to ensure they stay connected to their clients! Without a doubt delivering services is harder, more expensive and involves a considerably more individualized approach.”

The new BETTER TOGETHER – COVID-19 Community Response Fund launched by the community foundation is a way of pooling community donations big or small to turn around quickly to support charities that are delivering front-line support at this uniquely difficult time. While the Foundation is best known for their endowment fund program, they have introduced options for donors to make an immediate impact through this new non-endowed rapid response fund. The fund is a great way to provide some immediate relief that does not rely on income from the endowment fund. As Leanne Hammond explains, “this does not take anything away from our long term big picture approach. Collective and immediate response is what is required at a time like this – we encourage anyone who can afford to help to do so – this is a time to stand together – but 6 feet apart.”

Groups that could use immediate help include:

  • Food banks
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Seniors support organizations
  • Any charitable organization that has had to cancel a fundraising event will be experiencing financial stress

To give to the BETTER TOGETHER – COVID-19 Community Response Fund go online to www.cfno.org and click on the DONATE NOW button. For more information about the Fund or how to give, email [email protected] or call 250.542.8655.

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