Arkansas Community Foundation recaps where pandemic spending flowed

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 444 views 

A total of 797 grants totaling more than $2.6 million from Arkansas Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund have helped local organizations fight the pandemic.

“We learn more every day about how our COVID-19 grants are working to help Arkansans in need,” said Heather Larkin, President and CEO of the Arkansas Community Foundation. “We are now evaluating how to utilize the remainder of the dollars in the COVID-19 Relief Fund to address additional needs and gaps that have emerged since the pandemic began.”

Several organizations throughout the state received funding.

The Central Delta Community Action Agency in Pine Bluff works with many families who were struggling financially even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Lost wages and unemployment have made their circumstances worse. The agency is using a $25,000 COVID-19 Phase 2 Adaptation Grant to help low-income families with immediate needs and give them a chance to reach financial stability.

A $25,000 COVID-19 Phase 2 Adaptation Grant is making it possible for Child Care Aware of Northwest Arkansas to help facilities that have been caring for the children of essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds will be used to purchase equipment and offer programs to help provide childcare center staff with required professional development and training.

Southern Bancorp Community Partners is using a $25,000 COVID-19 Phase 2 Adaptation Grant to support Arkansans’ long-term financial health. It offers credit counseling for individuals who had to defer payments because of COVID-19-related lost wages or unemployment as they return to the workforce. The organization’s certified counselors work with people to focus on rebuilding credit, avoiding foreclosure and remodeling or even purchasing homes.

With a $1,000 Rapid Response mini-grant, the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas developed tutorials to help the population it serves understand how to use telemedicine and to avoid becoming victims of scams. The organization prepared and distributed information about how clients could lower their risk of contracting Covid-19 and how to get tested if they think they might have the novel coronavirus.

In Northeast Arkansas and in the Delta, several organizations are receiving funds. United Way of Northeast Arkansas, based in Jonesboro, received the Phase 2 grant to provide rent and utility assistance to families in an eight county region. The Northeast Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority received a similar grant to provide small business training and counseling services.

Mission Outreach of NEA Inc., based in Paragould, received a Phase 2 grant to buy food and supplies for its soup kitchen and food pantry. Hub: Homeless Resource Center Inc., based in Jonesboro received a similar grant to buy shelf stable food, vitamins, and PPE.

Nationwide, U.S. community foundations have mobilized more than $1 billion to support on-the-ground efforts by nonprofits, according to a study by the Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative. This figure includes funds managed by nearly 600 community foundations who have already granted more than $800 million of the funds mobilized directly to nonprofits.