Five Duluth-based funding organizations have come together to start a fund to help local charities on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes.
The COVID-19 Northeast Minnesota Response Fund was announced Thursday at a news conference in Duluth’s City Hall where the Community Foundation joined local officials in discussing the region’s response to the virus and the potentially deadly illness.
“Local nonprofits face a triple threat from this public health and economic emergency,” said Holly C. Sampson, president and CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. “They will see increased demand for services. They are working to maintain operations at a time of health concerns for their own staffs. And they will likely struggle to raise funds because public events and activities have been canceled. That’s why we are stepping up to help them.”
Joining the Community Foundation are: the Ordean Foundation, the Northland Foundation, the Head of the Lakes United Way and the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation. All of the funders are based in Duluth and serve people and organizations throughout northeast Minnesota.
Many of the same organizations came together in 2012 to create emergency response funds after devastating flash flooding did millions of dollars in damage throughout the region. Sampson said the Community Foundation also is exploring working with some of the partners and other funders whose service regions cover northwest Wisconsin to establish a COVID-19 fund for that area. In addition, other funds may be created for specific Northland communities, she said.
“Our goal is to come together and help local nonprofits who already are being asked to help and will be asked to do more as health and economic concerns grow,” said Tony Sertich, president of the Northland Foundation.
Don Ness, executive director of the Ordean Foundation, said: “Duluth is a generous and caring community. Today we once again heed the call to help those in need. The burden of this crisis has fallen most heavily on vulnerable populations and the nonprofits who are on the front lines. We ask those who are able to be especially generous in the face of such great need. Direct support of local nonprofits and contributions to this purpose-focused fund will once again prove that, in times of need, Duluthians step up to the challenge.”
Matt Hunter, president of the Head of the Lakes United Way, said: “Already we are seeing how COVID-19 is impacting our community. Businesses are shutting their doors to protect public health, and people are losing income. We want to support the safety net that will support these individuals and their families at a time of need and uncertainty.”
Joan Gardner-Goodno, executive director of the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, said: “These are trying times for all of us, but especially those directly affected by COVID-19. Donating to this fund is one way all of us can make a difference for our neighbors and our community.”
Donors can give online and get more information on the Community Foundation’s website. They also can call 218-726-0232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donors also can mail checks to:
COVID-19 Northeast Minnesota Response Fund
Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation
Medical Arts Building Suite 700
324 W. Superior St. Duluth, MN 55802
All donations to the fund are tax deductible.