Funders in the Western Bay of Plenty have come together to establish a new Rapid Response Fund to support community groups who are experiencing increased demand and/or funding shortfall as a result of COVID-19.
The funders, who have committed to pool from their current granting reserves a total of $600,000 in funding, include TECT, BayTrust, Acorn Foundation and Tauranga City Council.
“Through this funding we will support those community groups protecting and caring for the most vulnerable in our community,” says Wayne Werder, TECT General Manager.
“As we are all individually taking steps to protect ourselves, families and colleagues from the effects of the virus, let’s not forget the impact this will have on our neighbours; those unwell, unsafe, with no shelter and lack of access to food and essential supplies. These are realities that many in our region are facing and will continue to face in the coming weeks.”
Funds granted under the Rapid Response Fund would be in addition to any business as usual operating funding, ensuring community groups are sustainable in the long run as well as able to meet current unexpected demand.
“We are committed to working together to get this funding where it is needed most, to pay grants quickly and upfront, and to adapt to evolving community needs in order to support gaps not covered by government funding,” says Lori Luke, Acorn Foundation General Manager.
“This collective commitment of funders is a testament to our dedication to our region and a recognition that we can amplify our impact by working together.”
Tauranga City Council Mayor Tenby Powell says it is vitally important we support community groups which are working with those who are not able to meet all of their own needs during the pandemic lockdown.
“It is crucial that we give our region’s community groups the resources they need to help our more vulnerable people deal with the COVID-19 emergency, while we continue to work on longer-term mechanisms to counteract the economic and social implications,” says Tenby.
Due to the need for a rapid response during this time, a single online application process will be hosted by TECT with all funders contributing to the approval process.
Groups who are providing essential services as defined by the government will be invited to make the first applications to the fund before it is opened up to the wider not-for-profit sector. Others eligible to apply will include groups that face a significant funding shortfall, see an increase in demand or face additional costs in enabling them to adapt their service delivery to meet the restrictions of the government’s Alert Level system.
Identified essential service groups will be contacted by TECT in the coming days, with a notification to all others going out when the fund opens to the wider not-for-profit sector.
For those interested in helping with the COVID-19 response in the Western Bay of Plenty, the Acorn Foundation, which has long worked to support the areas of greatest concern in our region, have established an online portal for locals who want to contribute to this cause at www.acornfoundation.org.nz/ways-to-give/donate/donate-now.