Fund to aid Meriden-Wallingford nonprofit agencies in response to virus

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Local nonprofits have joined to create a special fund to help meet the demand for social services as the pandemic and its economic impacts intensify.

The United Way of Meriden and Wallingford and the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation are collaborating with nine local major financial backers on the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund. The money raised will be available for any 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit operating in Meriden and Wallingford.

“Our communities – our world – has never faced anything quite like this pandemic,” said Maria Campos Harlow, executive director of the local United Way. “I am so gratified to see that the entire philanthropic community, of which we are a proud part, mobilize so quickly with one voice to meet the challenges faced by so many. It speaks to the strength of the community and the determination of those donors and foundations with whom we are working that this effort has blossomed so quickly.”

With people out of work and many businesses closed by mandate, nonprofits are seeing an increase in clients seeking food and rent assistance. At the same time, funding to nonprofits has declined.

Many nonprofits have also had to cancel fundraising events due to the prohibition on gatherings.

“It has a ripple effect, what is happening, in the community,” Harlow said. 

To make up for that shortfall, the newly created fund is being launched with a goal of raising $200,000 in its first two weeks, according to a United Way announcement. The fund has received backing from the Cuno Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Ion Bank Foundation, James H. Napier Foundation, Meriden Foundation, Meriden Rotary Foundation, Wallingford Rotary Foundation, Fred Ulbrich Memorial Foundation and City Mission.

In the announcement, John Augustyn, president of the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation, said the organization’s structure allows it to quickly begin hosting the fund.

“Our organization was built for exactly this purpose, can mobilize immediately, and has worked closely with the United Way and other philanthropic organizations for decades,” he said.


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