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The first official mini-grants from United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund were awarded Wednesday.

ALBANY – The first official mini-grants from United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund were awarded Wednesday. The community relief fund was launched to quickly address the economic challenges of COVID-19 by deploying resources to community-based organizations in need of funds to meet the immediate needs of individuals affected by the crisis. Under the direction of the distribution committee, the community relief fund was able to allocate $72,000 to 10 nonprofit organizations in the initial round of funding.

The first round of funding focuses on meeting the most basic health and safety needs. The emergency needs within this round of funding respond to the impact areas of rent/mortgage assistance, access to food, utilities assistance, child care and safety to high-risk individuals. Grant recipients for the first round were A Better Way Grocers, Cutliff Grove Family Resource Center, Feeding the Valley Albany, Hope City United, Inspiritus, Lee County Family Connection, New Visions Community Development Corporation, Sherwood Baptist Church, St. Teresa’s Catholic Church and the Phoebe Foundation. Each of these nonprofit organizations has demonstrated the ability and capacity to address needs and serve high-risk and vulnerable populations in their specified impact areas.

The distribution committee comprises of a cross-section of community leaders who have committed to volunteering their time and expertise to ensure the most effective appropriation of resources during this critical time. Committee members are Sharon Subadan (city of Albany), Michael McCoy (Dougherty County Government), Demetrius Love (Molson Coors), Lequrica Gaskins (city of Albany), Valerie Bowron (Draffin Tucker), Clifton Bush (Albany Area Primary Health Care), Cathi Jones (Procter & Gamble), Jennifer Wilson (Ameris Bank) and Kerri Davis (city of Albany).

Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of this crisis, making it possible to deploy resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases. Applications for the second round of funding will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Southwest Georgia has a long history of uniting in times of crisis,” Shaunae Motley, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Georgia, said. “This is an unprecedented challenge for our lifetime, and every resident, public agency and organization must do their part to lessen the spread and community impact of COVID-19. We are grateful to our partners, for their leadership and commitment to helping us establish the Southwest Georgia Community Relief Fund to provide emergency assistance to those who need it most.”

Contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals include Wildfair Plantation Family & Friends, Turner Foundation Inc., Betty & Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, The Fisher Crum Foundation (in memory of Judge Nancy Stephenson), Community Foundation of South Georgia, The Golden Triangle RC&D, Truist Foundation, UPS and others.

To make a donation:

Text: FIGHT COVID to 313131

Call: (229) 886-1285

Mail a check to: United Way of Southwest Georgia, P.O. Box 70429, Albany, Ga. 31708.

United Way is monitoring the needs of the community to organize volunteers and coordinate volunteer opportunities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the most timely and safe manner possible. For more information, visit: www.unitedwayswga.org/neighbor-mutual-aid.

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