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Northeast Ohio Foundations Raise $4M For Coronavirus Response

Cleveland-area philanthropic groups have raised nearly $4 million for a COVID-19 rapid response fund.

The fund initially will support nonprofits that offer safety-net services such as food pantries and housing assistance, according to a Wednesday news release. The aim is to assist vulnerable groups, such as low-income residents, the homeless and those at greater risk from coronavirus.

“We really are trying to think systematically around who are the organizations that work with a lot of people?” said Dale Anglin, the Cleveland Foundation’s program director for youth, health and human services. “Who are the people, to be honest, the populations that not enough people are focusing on?”

Eighteen organizations pledged money to seed the fund, including the George Gund Foundation, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, the St. Luke’s Foundation, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. A full list is available here.

The announcement of the fund comes as coronavirus response continues to disrupt public and economic life across Ohio and around the country.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday ordered the closures of barbershops, beauty salons, tattoo parlors and hair and nail salons. Restaurants have been laying off staff since the shutdown of dine-in service March 15.

The money will support organizations already doing work in the community and is not available to individuals. No specific recipient groups have been named yet, though the funders may make their first grants next week, Anglin said. The fund is open for donations.

Funders hope to complement the work of local and state governments in fighting the spread of the virus, Anglin said.

“We’re not assuming that our dollars will be able to solve everything,” she said. “We definitely understand that this is going to be a long-term crisis, and we’re going to think through pretty carefully how we disburse our dollars.”

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