Grants totaling $400,000 are on their way to 42 nonprofit organizations on behalf of the City of Staunton and Augusta County. The grants, which originate from CARES Act allocations to the city and county, are intended to support the sustainability of the local nonprofit sector which, along with for-profit businesses, has faced many financial challenges as a direct result of the pandemic.
Both Staunton and Augusta County partnered with the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge to administer their Nonprofit Sustainability Grants programs. Staunton provided $300,000 and Augusta County committed $100,000.
Nonprofit organizations were eligible for grants of up to $20,000 based upon the size of the operating budgets and certain categories of expenses that they incurred between March 1 and November 15. The grants reimburse eligible expenses, including costs associated with modifying organizations’ service models in order to ensure that the public could access their services.
For example, Blue Ridge CASA for Children, which provides court-appointed volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children, added a staff member to recruit and train new volunteers to keep pace with the unfortunate increase in child abuse cases during the pandemic.
Martha’s Meals on Wheels experienced a 31% increase in the number of requests for their meal deliveries during the pandemic, resulting in a significant increase in its expenses.
Limitations on the size of public gatherings eliminated Augusta Expo’s income from large-scale events, which severely challenged their ability to maintain the readiness of their facilities as the emergency site for Augusta Health during the pandemic.
Health Equipment and Loan Program, which provides a critical service for lower-income residents in need of medical consumables and temporary health equipment such as wheelchairs, needed to make several modifications to their facility and intake processes to properly safeguard the health of their clients and volunteers.
There are many other examples of how the nonprofit sector has responded quickly and creatively to the dramatic increase in community needs and other consequences of the pandemic.
“Every member of our nonprofit sector has had to overcome multiple obstacles this year, while the need for their services has been greater than ever,” noted Dan Layman, CEO of the Community Foundation. “We are incredibly proud of how they have responded to those challenges and worked together to create solutions for the greater good of our community.”
The first priority for both Staunton and Augusta County was to support the nonprofit organizations either headquartered within their respective borders or with a significant presence in their communities.
“The City of Staunton is proud to have been able to use a portion of our CARES Act funds so that nonprofits can continue the important work that benefits our entire community in so many ways,” affirms City of Staunton Mayor Andrea Oakes. “Throughout the duration of this public health crisis, their services have been and will continue to be more valuable than ever.”
“Nonprofits contribute an immeasurable investment to the vitality and health of our community,” said Gerald Garber, Chair of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors. “The effects of the pandemic have been costly, and we are grateful the CARES Act funds could be used for extra support. We appreciate all of these organizations and the effort they put into supporting residents’ way of life.
The recipients of Staunton’s Nonprofit Sustainability Grants include: American Frontier Culture Foundation, American Shakespeare Center, Augusta County Historical Society, Beverley Street Studio School, Blue Ridge CASA for Children, Camera Heritage Museum, Elk Hill, Happy Birthday America, Heifetz International Music Institute, Martha’s Meals on Wheels, Mental Health America-Augusta, New Directions Center, Project GROWS, Science Delivered, ShenanArts, Shenandoah LGBTQ Center, Staunton Augusta Art Center, Staunton Creative Community Fund, Staunton Music Festival, Staunton-Augusta County Rescue Squad, Staunton-Augusta YMCA, Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Habitat for Humanity, Valley Children’s Advocacy Center, Valley Conservation Council, Valley Mission, Valley Supportive Housing, and The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Foundation.
The recipients of Augusta County’s Nonprofit Sustainability Grants include: Augusta Agricultural Industrial Exposition (Augusta Expo), Augusta County Fair, Augusta Health Foundation, Cinderella Project of the Shenandoah Valley, DePaul Community Resources, Health Equipment and Loan Program, Renewing Homes of Greater Augusta, Ride With Pride, The Green Hanger Project and Secret Boutique, United Way of Staunton, Augusta County & Waynesboro, Valley Alliance for Education, Valley Hope Counseling Center, Verona Community Center, Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry, and Weyers Cave Community Center.