The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington awarded a total of $1,028,394 to 46 organizations through its 2020 Focus Grant program. The local grantmaking organization also opened applications for a new round of funding this week and expects to distribute at least $850,000 in Focus Grants this year.
Nonprofits and other eligible organizations working to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty in Clark, Cowlitz or Skamania Counties are encouraged to apply. The foundation addresses this work by funding three impact areas: educational attainment, basic human needs and asset building. The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, March 31. Criteria and applications are available at www.cfsww.org/grants.
The most recent round of 2020 Focus Grants awarded more than $600,000 to 26 projects and programs across southwest Washington. The Community Foundation provides a full list of its discretionary grants online.
Esra Khalil, program officer at the Community Foundation, said proposals reflected a host of growing needs and widespread disparities brought to the forefront by the pandemic. Many nonprofits reported an influx of requests for emergency support with food, utilities, healthcare and housing. To respond, the Community Foundation launched the SW Washington COVID Response Fund to supplement its annual Focus Grants program. Together, these grants extended an immediate lifeline for local nonprofits and community members who were experiencing either long delays or barriers to federal assistance.
“Poverty puts people in a position where they have to make calculated risks just to afford the most basic needs,” Khalil said. “This leaves little room for rainy-day funds, which means emergencies like the pandemic end up pushing tens of thousands of southwest Washington residents into crisis.”
Requests from food banks, shelters, health clinics and other community-based organizations emphasized the need for investments in technology to maintain operations and service delivery, an increased focus on equitable approaches, and general operating or emergency support.
“Nonprofits have played an increasingly important role in providing safety and security for those hit hardest by the pandemic,” Khalil said. “We recognize the urgent need to support these services and the essential employees who deliver them daily, and we’re honored to stand behind their heroic efforts.”