UNITE QUAD-CITIES: Who is helping? Nonprofits get $350,402 for virus needs
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UNITE QUAD-CITIES: Who is helping? Nonprofits get $350,402 for virus needs

Kevin E. Schmidt - 100 of 2017

In this file photo from 2017, two young men play basketball during a break in classes at the Safer Foundation, located in the lower level of the former J.B. Young Intermediate School. With classes canceled because of the new coronavirus, the Safer Foundation is purchasing equipment for online learning. A Disaster Recovery Grant of $6,500 from the Q-C Community Foundation will help with that purchase.

The Q-C Community Foundation has awarded $350,402 to 19 area organizations to help the area's most vulnerable residents and the organizations themselves with needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These grants were announced Monday, on the heels of $215,680 in grants announced Friday by the Regional Development Authority, bringing to $566,082 the amount of money awarded so far through Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Grants.

As with the RDA grants, much of the money from the community foundation grants is focused on getting housing, food and health care to people in non-normal ways to help stop the spread of the virus, such as dropping off food baskets at someone's door rather than having them come to a food pantry.

Another criteria of the community foundation was to help the survival of organizations whose revenue stream has dried up because of closures and cancellations.

Kristi Crafton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Quad-Cities, for example, received $10,000 that will go toward the $21,600 Habitat pays as a portion of employee health care insurance for eight weeks.

Because of the virus, Habitat's ReStore retail shop is closed, eliminating a major source of revenue, so when Crafton looked around at pressing needs, she picked health care because she didn't want employees to go without.

Nahant Marsh Education Center, Davenport, received $5,000 to keep a limited number of employees coming in and available in case they are needed for sandbagging in the event of Mississippi River flooding, Brian Ritter, executive director, said.

Nahant's fundraising programs and events are cancelled for the foreseeable future so that revenue stream is gone, he said.

Still other community foundation grants are aimed at vulnerable populations that have needs in addition to housing, food and health care.

The Safer Foundation, for example, received $6,500 to buy technology to allow the continuation of educational programming to the court-system-involved youth it serves, Sherry Ristau, president and CEO of the community foundation, said.

The technology will allow education to proceed remotely rather than in person so that the young people "make progress rather than just sitting at home," she said.

In total, 70 organizations have asked for upwards of $2.5 million in aid. Disaster Recovery Grants were first established in 2016 and were first activated in 2019 to help with flood-related needs.

Here is a complete list of the 19 organizations receiving money in this first round. The foundation continues to raise money and expects to make more grants.

• Alternatives for the Older Adult, Moline, to expand emergency assistance for individuals and families —  $30,000.

This money will be used to give emergency financial assistance to households regardless of age because of needs related to the virus, such as rent, utility bills, insurance payments, food or gasoline, Kathy Weiman, CEO of Alternatives, said.

Although Alternatives serves older adults, it received the allocation in its role as fiscal sponsor of the Quad-Cities Open Network, an organization that coordinates funding to 63 network organizations, she said. The network will provide the emergency assistance to its organizations, who will provide it to individuals. 

• Center for Active Seniors, Davenport, to provide crisis advocacy for seniors — $35,000

• Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities, Rock Island, to continue critical children’s therapy provision — $10,000

• Community Action of Eastern Iowa, Davenport, to expand food provision for Quad Cities— $15,000

• Community Health Care Inc., Quad-Cities, to cover curbside health care costs — $30,402

• Family Resources Inc., Davenport, to continue critical services to children and families — $35,000.

Family Resources operates a 54-bed shelter for people/families involved in sexual assault, domestic violence and trafficking, but has had to close the shelter to help stop the spread of the virus, Nicole Cisne Durbin, president and CEO of Family Resources, said.

The money will help pay for hotel rooms for the 29 families in shelter as of Monday, she said. The organization is committed to a block of rooms for 30 days, she said.

In addition, Family Resources provides group foster care for youth who don't have a safe place to stay and who need a treatment environment, as well as youth who have been adjudicated, she said.

Normally these children would spend the day at school, but with schools closed, Family Resources has had to hire additional staff and supply meals, she said. As of Monday, Family Resources was housing 17 children on campus, but has capacity for 32, she said.

• Friendship Manor, Rock Island, to maintain critical services to keep seniors safe —  $20,000

• Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities, Davenport, to continue essential services in housing — $10,000

• Hand in Hand, Bettendorf, to continue critical services to people with disabilities — $5,000

• Handicapped Development Center, Davenport, to continue critical services to people with disabilities — $22,000

• Heart of Hope Ministries, Rock Island, to expand feeding of households in need — $5,000

• Humility Homes & Services Inc., Davenport, to continue housing homeless individuals and families — $30,000

• Nahant Marsh Education Center, Davenport, to continue critical land management for flood protection — $5,000

• QC Haven of Hope, Rock Island, to continue housing homeless families — $2,500

• River Bend Foodbank, Davenport, to expand food provision for Quad-Cities — $30,000

• Safer Foundation, Davenport, to support technologies for remote learning in the Youth Empowerment Program — $6,500

• SAL Family and Community Services, Quad-Cities, to support Emergency Child Care for Illinois Essential Workforce — $25,000

• The Salvation Army-Quad Cities, to expand sheltering options for homeless individuals and families — $30,000

• World Relief Moline, to continue critical services to refugee families — $4,000

Several of these organizations also received money from the RDA.

Matt Mendenhall, president and CEO of the RDA, said the community should have a new appreciation for organizations that provide a safety net.

"With the number of people losing their incomes, access to food and shelter take on new importance," he said in a written statement.

"As we’ve talked to organizations, and reviewed each grant request, it has been impressive to see how the nonprofits have stepped up in so many ways, from adjusting how health care is provided, to increasing food access, as well as to providing relief resources for monthly bills. We are all in this together."

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