Community Foundation Starting New Fund Respond to Impacts of the COVID-19 Emergency

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Looking for ways to help people in Watertown who are adversely impacted by the Coronavirus, the Watertown Community Foundation has created a new fund.

Jan Singer, executive director of the Community Foundation, said the response to the Community Resilience Fund already been positive. The Foundation boards met remotely using Zoom to put together plans for the fund.

“We know that this is going to be very difficult for a lot of people and it’s going to last for a while, we are assuming at this point,” Singer said. “We met together as a board and came up with an idea for the Resilience fund. acted on it quickly.”

The fund started with $40,000 of funds that came from both the Foundation’s unrestricted fund, and donations from board members and staff, Singer said. The creation of the fund was announced on Monday.

“We’ve already gotten some donations overnight,” Singer said. “It is amazing how people stepped up. We are grateful for everything. People are rising to the occasion.”

The foundation will be advised by people who work with the most vulnerable population when making grants from the fund.

“We are meeting with social works and government officials, people in community, front line workers, who see where the needs are and who the most vulnerable are,” Singer said. “We will work with them to deploy the funds.”

So far Singer has not heard of a lot of cases of people needing help, but she expects to hear from more people in coming weeks.

“This week probably is going to be the easiest of weeks, only because some people are just now not getting a paycheck and are not going to work,” Singer said. “Over the next week or two it is going to increase exponentially. We don’t know to what degree. We need to be as prepared as we are going to be.” 

Donations to the Community Resilience Fund can be made online at http://www.watertownfoundation.org/donate/, or by mail at: Watertown Community Foundation-Community Resilience Fund, P.O. Box 334, Watertown, MA 02471

See the Watertown Community Foundation’s entire announcement below:

The Watertown Community Foundation has created the Community Resilience Fund to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency and similar crises.

A restricted fund at Watertown Community Foundation, the Community Resilience Fund will be for use in responding to urgent, community-wide needs or significant unexpected financial challenges from closures of core community institutions. The Community Resilience Fund enables WCF to rapidly make grants, with minimal application requirements, when the critical need is financial. WCF will rely on community partners to identify, and enable us to respond rapidly to, immediate needs. The Community Resilience Fund will be managed with other WCF funds to be readily available. Donors can designate contributions to the Community Resilience Fund knowing that urgent needs of the community will be met.

WCF Co-President David Siegel explained, “When time is of the essence, sometimes money really can help. Few events will have the scope and depth of impact on our community of the COVID-19 emergency. We know the impacts will be significant, widespread and are already arising. This new fund – in collaboration with key community partners – will enable us to act quickly. The time is now.”

These front-line community partners will identify the individuals and groups in need and help deploy the funds.

  • Steve Magoon, Watertown Director Community Development and Planning
  • Bethany Kiuru, Watertown Public Schools, Community Outreach Social Worker
  • Melissa Duarte, Watertown PD, MSW, Jail Diversion Clinician
  • Jenna Willis, Wayside Youth & Family Support Network, Social Services Resource Specialist
  • Kristen Caso, Watertown Housing Authority, Assistant Financial and Operations Manager

Watertown Community Foundation has initially committed over $40,000 of the foundation’s unrestricted funds and board and staff contributions. We hope to add to the fund with donations from individuals, companies and grants.

Donations may be made:

By check:

Watertown Community Foundation –
Community Resilience Fund
P.O. Box 334
Watertown, MA 02471

Online at http://www.watertownfoundation.org/donate/

For instructions on donating appreciated securities, or other questions you may have, please contact Jan Singer at jan.singer@watertownfoundation.org.  

The Watertown Community Foundation, a public, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, works to build and sustain a vibrant, close-knit community in Watertown – now, and for future generations. To accomplish this, WCF raises funds from individuals, families, businesses, and foundations; awards grants to nonprofits and community projects; and builds networks of donors, grantees, program participants, and stakeholders. 

WCF Board of Directors 

David Siegel and Darshna Varia, Co-Presidents; Robert Airasian; Albrik Avanessian; Emily Barclay; Jennifer Davis; Eleanor Donato; William B. Ford; Ashley Morris; Mary Ann Mulligan; Antonia O’Hara; Anthony Paolillo; Maria Panaggio-Phillips; Christine Parker; Lora Sabin; Robert Shay; Curtis Teixeira; Elaina Themistos; Lauren Coughlin Unsworth; and Kathryn White.

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