Blue & You Foundation opens $1.7 million COVID-19 relief fund, donating $500,000 for food insecurity

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 554 views 

The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas is donating $500,000 to stem food insecurity in the state and opening the “Rapid-Response COVID Relief” grant process to award up to $1.7 million to nonprofits negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Established by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2001, the Blue & You Foundation is providing support to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Arkansas Food Bank, The Pack Shack and 17 United Way agencies statewide to address food insecurity directly. It is also providing $150,000 to the Arkansas Community Foundation, which is also reaching out to Arkansas nonprofits with COVID-related grants.

The $1.7 million for COVID-19 grants for nonprofits will range from $5,000 to $150,000. Applications will be received online only and funding decisions made on a weekly basis. Grants not approved immediately each week will be held for consideration for funding in later weeks or months.

The purpose of the Rapid-Response COVID Relief Grants program is to help eligible organizations lessen the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the individuals, families and communities they serve, Blue & You officials said. Any 501(c)(3) public charity, public school, governmental agency (city, county, state), nonprofit hospital or church in Arkansas is eligible to apply. Grants are not made to individuals.

“Recognizing the tremendous health, economic, and social needs created by the coronavirus pandemic and that we must act with a greater sense of urgency to help struggling communities and their citizens, the Blue & You Foundation is making funds available outside of our normal grant process,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation.

“The ‘Rapid-Response COVID Relief’ grant process is open and accepting applications. The process has been significantly shortened and grants will be reviewed and awarded weekly for nonprofits that have been affected by the coronavirus health crises to be used for prevention and relief,” he said.

“Whether from our own personal experiences or from what we see and hear in the news each day, it’s clear that the coronavirus pandemic has become not just a public health crisis but also an economic and social crisis that’s impacting every part of our lives,” said Curtis Barnett, Arkansas Blue Cross president and CEO. “We’re seeing businesses, especially small businesses, struggle. And as a growing number of people have a reduction in their work hours or get laid off from their job, we’re seeing even more Arkansans challenged with food insecurity and other critical social needs.”

There is no closing date for the Rapid-Response COVID Relief Grant process.

The Foundation’s regular grants cycle for the year has been suspended to allow for the special COVID-related grants program.

For more information or to apply, go to blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org.

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