Meriden-Wallingford Coronavirus Reponse Fund off to strong fundraising start

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Donors are stepping in to ensure that nonprofits have the means to help residents struggling with layoffs as those same nonprofits face declining donations and shrinking staff.

In its first week, the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund raised $70,000 toward its $200,000 goal.

“These wonderful gestures of immediate support are so heartwarming,” said George McGoldrick, United Way of Meriden and Wallingford board president. “Yes, we have a way to go to meet our initial goal of $200,000, but I am sure this will challenge others to join in the effort. There isn’t a person who doesn’t know of the devastation that coronavirus has caused...” 

The United Way is administering the response fund with help from the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation. The Meriden Rotary Foundation and the Cuno Foundation gave $25,000 each; the Record-Journal Foundation gave $7,500; and the Ion Bank Foundation donated $4,000.

“Our foundation board wanted to set the pace immediately so we could encourage other organizations and individuals to join us in this incredibly critical effort,” Meriden Rotary Club member Ty Bongiovani said in a statement. “Thousands are really hurting already, and with every day, the need grows. We need to get these neighbors help.”

Maria Harlow, executive director of the United Way of Meriden and Wallingford, said based on pledges she expects to fund to go over $100,000 this week.

Nonprofits are seeing a demand for food and rent assistance. At the same time, much of the revenue nonprofits rely on comes fundraising events that have been canceled because of the pandemic. Volunteers and giving has also been hurt by businesses closing their buildings as employees work from home.

“We don’t want to see nonprofits have to close due to this situation … we want them to continue being able to serve the community,” Harlow said.

John Augustyn, co-chair of the response fund and president of the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation, said those who have been impacted need help from neighbors.

“The middle name of our fund is ‘community’ for a reason,” he said. “We need donations from everyone who can possibly help. None of us have ever faced anything quite like this. If you’re still employed, we need you to help someone who has lost their job.”

dleithyessian@record-journal.com203-317-2317Twitter: @leith_yessian


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