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Corporations, Banks, Utilities Turning To Philanthropy To Support Those In Need



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It may be impossible to know, or grasp, the financial impact the COVID-19 crisis is wreaking on businesses and individuals because it is simply massive and without precedent.

But that is not stopping the creation of funds or the activation of philanthropic initiatives across a widening landscape of businesses, nonprofits, and even utilities, all trying to respond to help fill some of the growing burdens faced by local and state residents who have seen their employers close shop, their livelihoods placed on indefinite hold, and their household expenses outflow quickly eclipsing corresponding revenue streams.

On April 1, a group of Connecticut-based philanthropists announced they established a charitable organization to raise new support for the state’s nonprofit organizations that are serving those impacted by the pandemic.

The Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection — also known as 4-CT — is an independent, 501(c)3 organization with the mission of bolstering the resources available to support the state’s frontline providers who are serving all areas impacted by the crisis. 4-CT will provide financial support to ensure their services can meet increased demand and have a positive impact.

In announcing its launch, the charity had already raised $10 million from generous donors and continues to seek others to help significantly increase these efforts in the coming weeks and months to further support the state’s nonprofit community. The founders of 4-CT are Don Kendall, who is serving as the organization’s CEO, and Ted Yang, who is serving as COO.

As part of its efforts, 4-CT has launched the 4-CT Statewide COVID-19 Relief Fund, administered by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The fund is soliciting donations from individuals and institutional funders across the state. 4-CT has already assisted with several projects that are being funded by Raj and Indra Nooyi and other leading philanthropists.

Juanita James, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, said, “I applaud the 4-CT vision for creating this opportunity to quickly get these critical resources to communities throughout Connecticut. As a Community Foundation, we are thrilled to partner in coordinating efforts to quickly address the most pressing needs and to greatly magnify the impact of our local efforts.”

Those interested in making a contribution to 4-CT should visit www.4-ct.org.

Powering Up Giving

So far this week, Eversource announced that the energy company is donating more than $2 million through the Eversource Foundation to nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. These funds include the acceleration of the energy company’s regular $1.2 million annual donation to United Way agencies across all three states and an additional $1 million donation to be dispersed to those agencies and others providing social services such as food pantries and health and human service organizations.

Some of the organizations and the respective COVID relief funds that are receiving funding from the Eversource Foundation include:

*United Way partners across all three states, including United Way of Connecticut’s “COVID Response Fund”

*4-CT Statewide COVID-19 Relief Fund

*Connecticut Food Bank

*Foodshare (serving the greater Hartford and Middlesex regions).

In addition to this commitment, the energy company will also contribute to several food pantries in communities where it solely serves water customers through Aquarion Water Company.

“Whether in times of crisis or not, our community partners at organizations like the United Way are always dedicated to making life better for those in need, supporting critical programs focused on health, education, financial security, and more,” said Eversource Foundation President Theresa Hopkins-Staten.

As part of the more than $2 million donation, the Eversource Foundation will provide targeted Community Impact Grants, which are smaller contributions to local nonprofit organizations in all three states. Since the emergence of COVID-19, Eversource has taken several other steps to support its customers, including the suspension of customer disconnects for nonpayment.

Community organizations and small businesses in Connecticut will also be receiving $225,000 in funding as part of a previously announced initiative through which Citizens Bank will direct more than $5 million to support relief and recovery across communities it serves, including $175,000 that will go directly to small businesses across the state.

Citizens Bank and the Citizens Charitable Foundation will direct $225,000 in Connecticut as follows:

*$100,000 to LISC Connecticut which will award grants to small businesses in Connecticut to provide emergency relief to mitigate economic impacts.

* $75,000 in direct grants to Citizens Bank small business customers in Connecticut and to help them continue operating and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

*$50,000 to the Connecticut United Ways COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund will rapidly deploy financial resources to individuals and families economically affected by the pandemic, including those who are out of work or have reduced work hours.

Public, Private Support Initiatives

In the two weeks since the Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund was established by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF), nearly $1.4 million has been donated.

FCCF’s Community Impact team is working to review applications for funding and rapidly deploy vital grants to local nonprofits supporting basic needs of the region’s most vulnerable residents: food, shelter, health, safety, and education. More than 30 organizations have already received grants totaling over $500,000.

The fund’s first $100,000 challenge grant provided by an anonymous FCCF fundholder has been met, and another anonymous donor has offered a $500,000 challenge grant. So any donation up to $10,000 to the Fund will be matched, dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000.

The foundation has also set up a Nonprofit Resources web page at https://fccfoundation.org/covid19-nonprofit-resources/ — which is updated regularly with information and links to best practices, additional financial resources, webinar trainings, and other tools to help Fairfield County nonprofits continue to provide support to those in need.

Elsewhere in the region, more than 50 Sodexo employees who comprise the cafeteria, catering, and kitchen staff at Boehringer Ingelheim’s Ridgefield, CT campus are being redeployed to help neighbors in need. In partnership with Food Rescue US and Boehringer Ingelheim, the Sodexo dining team is preparing 250 nourishing meals daily that will be safely delivered to the City of Danbury Emergency Shelter and Housing Authority, Hillside Food Outreach, and other social service agencies throughout Fairfield County.

Additionally, the dining team will supplement the kitchen staff at Regional Hospice’s Center for Comfort Care and Healing, where new visitation protocols have been implemented to ensure the safety of residents and staff.

Boehringer Ingelheim is also donating $500,000 to the American Thoracic Society (ATS) COVID-19 Crisis Fund. Boehringer Ingelheim is the first pharmaceutical company to contribute to this important fund that helps bolster ATS’s wide-reaching efforts to fight COVID-19 and assist the pulmonology and critical care communities most urgent medical needs.

The COVID-19 Crisis Fund will focus on several areas:

*Development and dissemination of educational resources based on the very latest information regarding prevention and treatment of COVID‐19 and other pulmonary and critical care conditions;

*support rapid information collection and dissemination in times of crisis;

*develop rapid response capabilities that provide expert recommendations and suggestions to address areas lacking in empirical evidence;

*provide resources to clinicians in need of expanding their skill set during this emergency.

The goal of the fund is to make a meaningful difference in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 by providing pulmonology and critical care communities with the latest knowledge and resources to best care for patients.

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