We are no longer accepting applications for this funding opportunity. Thank you for your commitment to the community and we look forward to partnering with you in the future.

Our Crisis Response: $1,365,641 for COVID-19 Relief in the Greater Kanawha Valley Area

By Michelle Foster

Op-Ed July 15, 2020

Charleston Gazette-Mail

With the help of generous donors, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) awarded a record 52 grants totaling $1,365,641 for COVID-19 relief in less than three months.

When TGKVF launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund in March 2020 with $150,000, we had not fully realized the magnitude of the pandemic and how it would impact our nonprofit partners and the low-wealth citizens they serve. We now know that regardless of their area of focus – from arts and culture to basic needs, education to health, community economic development to emergency aid – the sustainability and capacity of all nonprofits have been affected by COVID-19. These organizations need philanthropic and government support so they can emerge on the other side of the global pandemic. 

As fate would have it, an anonymous donor, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and Huntington Bank were cognizant of the need to support community efforts like ours and contributed $1,060,641, $150,000, and $5,000, respectively, to our Relief Fund. All the funds we received went towards grants; no administrative fees were assessed. We also expedited the application and approval processes so that the funds could get to the community as quickly as possible.

The primary objective of our relief effort was to keep low-wealth households and families intact as they lived through the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we do not make grants to individuals, our approach was to provide financial support to high-performing nonprofit partners that serve our community. As with all of our discretionary grantmaking, we focused on Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam Counties and primarily funded food access, healthcare and medication assistance, shelter, and utility assistance programs. Seventy percent ($950,141) of funds awarded were for these emergency need purposes.

We also awarded $137,000 to programs that serve the educational and safety needs of children. Schools and youth serving organizations are reeling as learning loss and difficulty re-acclimating to the classroom are expected, so teachers need support as they try to remediate at the beginning of the school year. As school systems pivot to begin planning for more remote education options, broadband infrastructure and distance learning mechanisms need support, as do the many students who do not have computer and internet access for remote learning. Additionally, as stay-at-home orders and physical distancing requirements continue, many are concerned about child abuse and domestic violence. Child abuse reports in West Virginia are down significantly, which is alarming and may be because people who usually make reports aren’t in contact with children.

We responded to immediate basic needs crises while also planning for what our communities will need in the future. Many of our arts and culture nonprofits are concerned about the economic downturn and what that will mean for individual giving and corporate sponsorships. They’ve had to cancel fundraisers that provide flexible income, and many that rely on audiences and ticket sales to survive are struggling. When crises strike, funding for arts and cultural activities is the first reduction many business and donors make. Yet art nourishes the spirit, which is something all of our communities need, especially now and as our region recovers. We know that in order for our communities to thrive, we need to feed and house our neighbors, but we also need to attract people and businesses that will help invest in our communities. Research shows people and businesses situate themselves in places that are attractive to live, work, and play. Therefore, we provided $128,500 in support to arts and cultural communities so that they will still be around when the pandemic subsides.

The remaining $150,000 provided general support to high-performing, long-term partners across all sectors, including basic needs, education, and arts. Many of these partners were ineligible for or were not approved for the Payroll Protection Program offered by the CARES Act.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts would not have been possible without generous support from an anonymous donor, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and Huntington Bank. We are immensely grateful to these partners for caring so much about those severely impacted by the pandemic. As infection rates continue to rise in West Virginia and around the country, we remain concerned about the future of our nonprofit partners and the low-wealth citizens they serve. We are all in this public health emergency together. Let us follow the directives of public health officials so that we can get the health of the nation under control and get back to a socially enriching life.

A summary of the grants awarded is below:

Name Project Title Geographical Area Served Grant Amount Category
Appalachian Children’s Chorus Creating an Essential Virtual Environment Kanawha & Putnam counties $9,500.00 Arts & Culture
Arts in Action Arts in Action COVID-19 Relief Kanawha & Putnam Counties $15,000.00 Arts & Culture
Bob Burdette Center, Inc. Bob Burdette Center Virtual Enrichment Program Kanawha County $30,000.00 General Support
Children’s Therapy Clinic, Inc. Comprehensive Therapeutic Services Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $15,000.00 General Support
Clay County Board of Education Laptop Lending Library Clay County $50,000.00 Education
Community Care of West Virginia Food Access during COVID19 Clay County $5,000.00 Food Access
Community Care of West Virginia Emergency COVID Social Determinants of Health Fund Clay, Fayette & Kanawha Counties $70,000.00 Food Access, Shelter & Healthcare
Covenant House, Inc. Homelessness Prevention Kanawha County $50,000.00 Shelter
Facing Hunger Food Bank COVID19 Emergency Hunger Relief Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $10,000.00 Food Access
Faith in Action of the Greater Kanawha Valley, Inc. Essential Services for Seniors During COVID-19 Kanawha County $2,900.00 Food Access & Healthcare
FestivALL, Charleston, West Virginia, Inc. FestivALL Charleston 2020 Kanawha County $30,000.00 Arts & Culture
Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, Inc. Girl Scout Cookie Cares Program Kanawha County $1,000.00 Education
Just for Kids, Inc. Help for Low Wealth Families During COVID19 Pandemic Fayette County $10,000.00 General Support
Kanawha Charleston Health Department Keeping Kanawha County Healthy Amidst a Pandemic Kanawha County $10,000.00 Healthcare
Kanawha Charleston Health Department Take it to You Testing–Mobile Medical Unit Kanawha County $50,000.00 Healthcare
Kanawha County Commission Kanawha County Commission: COVID Food Pantry Program Kanawha County $45,000.00 Food Access
Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc. COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Initiative (C-19 EAI) Kanawha County $2,500.00 Food Access, Shelter & Healthcare
Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc. KISRA COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program Kanawha & Putnam Counties $10,000.00 Education
Kanawha Valley Collective, Inc. Peer Center – Showers and Laundry Kanawha County $4,800.00 Healthcare
Kanawha Valley Senior Services, Inc. Feeding Seniors During Pandemic Kanawha County $5,100.00 Food Access
Lincoln County Schools Lincoln County Remote Learning Lincoln County $50,000.00 Education
Manna Meal, Inc. Feeding The Hungry Kanawha County $7,000.00 Food Access
Mountain Mission, Inc. COVID Emergency Relief Project Kanawha County $25,000.00 Food Access
Mountaineer Food Bank, Inc. Emergency Food Distribution- COVID19 Boone, Clay & Kanawha Counties $25,000.00 Food Access
Mountaineer Food Bank, Inc. Kanawha & Boone County Meals on the Move program Boone County $50,000.00 Food Access
Pollen8, Inc. Café Appalachia Re-Opening Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $13,750.00 Food Access
Religious Coalition for Community Renewal, Inc. Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program Boone, Fayette, Kanawha & Putnam Counties $30,000.00 General Support
Risen Lord Catholic Church Emergency Aid Granting for Food Pantry and Backpack at Risen Lord Clay County $5,000.00 Food Access
Risen Lord Catholic Church Risen Lord Food Pantry, Backpack, and Social Concern Clay County $17,500.00 Food Access
River City Youth Ballet  Covid-19 Operational Expense Request Kanawha & Clay Counties $12,000.00 Arts & Culture
Step by Step, Inc. Food Champions for Lincoln and Kanawha County Children and Families Kanawha County $3,000.00 Food Access
Step by Step, Inc. Step by Step COVID-19 Recovery Kanawha & Lincoln Counties $40,000.00 General Support
The Education Alliance-Business and Community for Public Schools LEARN project – Lincoln County Expanding Access for Re-Entry Needs Lincoln County $26,000.00 Education
The Ronald McDonald House of Southern West Virginia Meals That Heal Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $3,500.00 Food Access
The Salvation Army COVID-19 Emergency Aid Program Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $30,000.00 Food Access
United Way of Central West Virginia COVID Response and Recovery Initiatives Boone, Clay, Putnam & Kanawha Counties $70,000.00 Food Access
United Way of Southern WV, Inc. Community Response and Recovery to Fayette County Fayette County $50,000.00 Food Access, Shelter & Healthcare
West Virginia Child Advocacy Network Providing Emergency Aid to Families during COVID-19 through Child Advocacy Centers Boone, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $34,500 Food Access, Shelter & Healthcare
West Virginia Health Right, Inc. Medication Assistance for Impoverished Medically At-Risk Adults Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $10,000.00 Healthcare
West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry/ Episcopal Diocese of WV COVID 19 Emergency Aid for Rent Kanawha County $1,200.00 Shelter
West Virginia Local Health Inc. (WVLHI) Protecting the Public’s Health: The Local Public Health Response to COVID-19 in Boone, Clay, Fayette, Lincoln and Putnam Counties. Boone, Clay, Fayette, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $50,000.00 Healthcare
West Virginia Local Health Inc. (WVLHI) Continuing to Protect the Public’s Health: The Local Public Health Response to COVID-19 in Boone, Clay, Fayette, Lincoln and Putnam Counties Boone, Clay, Fayette, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $50,000.00 Healthcare
West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Inc. Interactive Map Distant Learning Project Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $7,000.00 Arts & Culture
West Virginia Public Broadcasting Foundation, Inc. Mountain Stage Kanawha County $35,000.00 Arts & Culture
West Virginia Symphony Orchestra Coronavirus Relief Kanawha County $20,000.00 Arts & Culture
West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD) COVID 19 Feeding Support Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $100,000.00 Food Access
Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, Inc. Gynecological Care Support for Low-Income Women Kanawha County $50,641.00 Healthcare
WV Citizen Action Education Fund COVID 19 Homeless and SUD Street Outreach Expansion Kanawha County $6,000.00 Healthcare
WV Food and Farm Coalition Expansion of Farm-to-Senior and SNAP Stretch in the Kanawha Valley Region Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln & Putnam Counties $80,000.00 Food Access
YWCA of Charleston Resolve Family Abuse Program COVID project Boone, Clay & Kanawha Counties $5,250.00 Food Access, Shelter & Healthcare
Zion Child Development Center, Inc. COVID-19 Emergency Funding to Support Children in the Community Kanawha County $7,500.00 Food Access
Zion Child Development Center, Inc. Zion Child Development Center-COVID Response Program Kanawha County $25,000.00 General Support

Michelle Foster, PhD is the President and CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

FAQ for Active Regular Discretionary Grantees (not COVID response grantees)

You may request a project timeline extension if you think you may be able to complete the project activities by a later end date. You may also request a change in the scope of the grant project and/or a budget line item change request.  To learn more about these options, please contact your Program Officer.

You may submit a revised budget form request and include a written explanation regarding why changes are needed. Generally, budget items will still need to be allowable and allocable to the grant project.  Please contact your Program Officer to learn more about this option.

You may request an extension if you think you may need more time to organize data, prepare a detailed accounting of how funds were expended, and write up project outcomes.  To learn more about these options, please contact your Program Officer.

IMPORTANT: Before making any changes to your currently active grant and/or pending project proposal, you must receive written approval from the TGKVF program staff.  Once changes are approved, TGKVF’s Grants Manager will update the grant/application requirements in our system.

General Questions

Yes.  Whether working at our offices or remotely, our staff will be available to answer your questions.  Currently, email is the best way to get in touch with Foundation staff; however, we still access our voicemails.

In Phase I of our response, TGKVF supported emergency basic needs and health grants by approving grants on a weekly basis.  In Phase II of our response efforts, TGKVF is accepting applications on a rolling basis that focus on food access, healthcare, housing and shelter, the educational and safety needs of children, and arts organization support.

Phase 1 Distribution Announcement

Learn More

From all of us at TGKVF, we wish our communities good health and safety in the days and weeks ahead.