COVID-19 Response Fund Awards More Than $10M to Groups Providing Relief to Vulnerable Populations

The new fund is backed by dozens of philanthropic, business and government partners and also supported by 2,000 online donors to date

March 30, 2020By Bill Conroy

Altstadt restaurant in Pioneer Square is boarded up and temporarily closed. Seattle has become one of the most affected states from the COVID-19 crisis

The new fund is backed by dozens of philanthropic, business and government partners and also supported by 2,000 online donors to date

The recently launched COVID-19 Response Fund has provided 128 community organizations with a total of nearly $10.2 million in emergency-assistance funding as part of an effort to provide support to community-based organization assisting vulnerable populations in the Puget Sound region that are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus virus outbreak.

The grants were dispersed over the past week to nonprofits that have systems in place and the relationships necessary to deliver needed emergency assistance immediately. The round of grants was made less than three weeks from the fund’s launch on March 9, according to the fund’s leadership.

The grant-making effort is being led by the Seattle Foundation and United Way of King County in collaboration with the King County’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group, which is helping to identify grant recipients. Other organizations and individuals are encouraged to contribute via this website.

To date, the COVID-19 Response Fund has raised nearly $16 million from some 2,000 online donors and 45 partner organizations, including philanthropy groups, business, and government entities such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the city of Seattle, Connie and Steve Ballmer and the Seattle Seahawks.

“We are excited to share that the COVID-19 Response Fund has quickly deployed emergency assistance to our region’s most vulnerable people. But we know this is just the beginning,” says Seattle Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Tony Mestre’s. “The health and economic impacts of this virus will grow exponentially in the coming weeks and months. We must be prepared to tackle these increasing needs head-on.”

Among the initial partners and supporters of the new fund were the city of Seattle, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, the Starbucks Foundation and Microsoft ― which announced in a blog post that it has made an initial $1 million “anchor donation” to the fund.

“The Fund prioritized supporting people who were affected first and hardest by the coronavirus crisis, such as low-income residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, low-income workers in healthcare and the service industry, gig-economy workers, communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, as well as people with disabilities, greater health risks, limited English proficiency, and others,” the COVID-19 Response Fund said in announcing the grants. “…Later rounds of grantmaking from the fund will adapt to evolving community needs as the situation continues to unfold.”

For a complete list of groups receiving grants, go to this link.