Jefferson Community Foundation raises more than $542,000 in relief funds

Siobhan Canty is the president and CEO of the Jefferson County Foundation, which has raised more than $540,000 in COVID-19 Relief Funds.

Siobhan Canty is the president and CEO of the Jefferson County Foundation, which has raised more than $540,000 in COVID-19 Relief Funds.

PORT HADLOCK — Six hundred donors have swelled the Jefferson Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund to $542,000.

The foundation had dispersed by Friday $500,660 to organizations and businesses around Jefferson County to benefit those impacted economically by the coronavirus.

As of Friday, the Jefferson County Foundation (JCF) had disbursed $500,660 of the $542,000 to organizations and businesses since the creation of the specialized fund in March at the onset of the statewide shutdown.

More than half of the funds, $260,000, have gone toward rental assistance and housing, said Siobhan Canty, the foundation’s president and CEO.

Nearly $100,000 has gone toward financial security, $63,000 to food security, $33,000 to mental health, $27,500 to education and a little more than $19,000 to child care, she said.

The funds have been disbursed weekly since March 27.

A team of grant writers comes together to decide who will receive what portion of funds based on previously reviewed applications.

The highest week of disbursement was the week of April 17, when the foundation disbursed more than $77,000.

As of Friday, $27,500 was disbursed to five programs that have been impacted by the coronavirus.

Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County received the bulk of the weekly distribution, $13,000, to make up for a shortfall in volunteer hours, Canty said.

Cedarbrook Early Learning received $6,000 to help it provide child care to essential workers.

Jefferson County Immigrant Rights Advocates received $4,000 for rental assistance for people who had lost their jobs in landscaping, construction and other labor industries because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The ReCyclery, a program that provides bikes and locks to children’s programs, received $3,500, and organizers of the Face Mask Challenge received $1,000 for materials.

As Jefferson County is expected to apply next week to move into Phase 3 of the state’s “Safe Start” program, the foundation is beginning the process of closing out the fund.

The final meeting of the grants team will be July 10, Canty said. The deadline for proposals for that meeting is July 1.

“At that meeting, the grants team will review the final round of proposals and make final allocations,” she said.

“We are sunsetting the JC COVID Response and Recovery Fund in alignment with Jefferson County’s transition into Phase 3. If the county sees a surge and decides to move back into Phase 2, JCF will consider reopening the fund,” Canty said.

While the coronavirus is ever-present, the national, state and local focus has shifted toward conversations concerning racism and its impacts on communities, she noted.

On June 2, following a wave of protests across the country in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the JCF issued a statement:

“Jefferson Community Foundation stands with all people working to ensure fairness, equality, human dignity and social justice for Black, Brown and Indigenous lives,” the statement said.

“If you want to learn more about anti-racist efforts happening locally, check out Jefferson County Anti-Racist Fund, Mandala Center for Change and Jefferson County Immigrant Rights Advocates,” Canty said.

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Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].

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