Initiated after the tornado outbreak in North Alabama in 2011, the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville has reignited its emergency relief fund thanks to a donation of $50,000 from Toyota. The funds are intended to support community nonprofit organizations who are providing basic needs and health and wellness relief throughout the community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce and WAAY-TV have also partnered with the Community Foundation and Toyota to kick off the Take 5 to Give $5 campaign, which will culminate on May 5 for the global GivingTuesdayNow Day.
The partnership is challenging other companies to give anything from $5 up to $50,000 to match Toyota’s donation. Melissa Thompson, executive director of the Community Foundation, said their goal over the next two weeks is to put $500,000 into this fund.
In just a few days since launching the campaign, the Community Foundation and its donors have deposited nearly $200,000, not including the Toyota donation.
“We are supporting 28 different grants from 27 different nonprofit organizations to date,” said Thompson. “But the needs are still beyond what we are able to fund, so we have received grant applications in excess of $800,000. Our grants committee continues to work to get this money out to those organizations on the frontlines of our COVID-19 response.”
The Community Foundation usually relies on fees for managing company funds to cover operations. However, during the pandemic, the foundation is waiving its fees for the management of the emergency relief fund, to ensure that 100 percent of every dollar contributed goes directly to the nonprofits recommended for funding.
“Managing these contributions is our way of giving back to the community,” said Thompson.
The Community Foundation website at https://communityfoundationhsv.org/Covid lists the organizations that have already received grant funding, and visitors can also see the Foundation’s grants committee recommendations.
“Our grants committee is trying to prioritize needs and is very conscious of the fact we are spending other people’s money who have donated to this fund and also, that by endorsing a grant, we have a responsibility to stand behind it,” said Thompson. “The community can have confidence in the grants we are recommending.”
For questions about how an agency on the frontlines of this pandemic can apply for a grant and become a part of the Community Foundation, those agencies can find the application at the bottom of the webpage.
“We try to make it a pretty easy application,” said Thompson. “Our grants committee is meeting weekly right now to turn these applications around quickly, so get your application in as soon as possible.
“Just note the money is specific to basic needs and health and wellness right now.”