First Grants Awarded: COVID-19 Community Fund

Flowering trees

Individuals most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to benefit from the first found of grants in the areas of basic needs, health services, and social services.

April 3, 2020 - In a joint release, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven President and CEO Will Ginsberg and United Way of Greater New Haven President Jennifer Heath announced today the first round of grants totaling $600,900 from the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund has been distributed to 28 organizations.

The stories of these organizations rising to meet the needs of their clients are both inspiring and sobering when we reflect on how they are serving the most vulnerable in our community under such stressful conditions with such little resources,” said Ginsberg. “Our hope is that this funding provides much needed relief.”

“These organizations are on the front-lines, providing critical assistance to those whose lives have been upended by the pandemic,” said Heath.  “I am pleased that we can respond quickly to the needs of the community and get resources where they are needed most.”

The Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund, which launched on March 20, was created to get resources quickly to nonprofit agencies serving Greater New Haven’s residents, particularly those individuals most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Aware that nonprofits are having to provide essential services amid increased demand, reduced revenues and a completely changed work landscape, the initial grants from the Fund focus on agencies providing frontline healthcare and basic needs services. These organizations serve people such as seniors, people with disabilities and those who are experiencing homelessness or who are economically disadvantaged. In addition to the financial relief provided by the funds, these grants are helping providers reduce the spread of COVID-19.

To make these grants, The Community Foundation and United Way Staff reached out to current nonprofits on the front lines providing basic needs and health services to assess their needs, using a common set of questions. The aim was to gather information without burdening the organizations already under stress with having to complete an application. The results of this outreach were reviewed and voted on by an ad-hoc volunteer committee made up of current and former Community Foundation and United Way board members.  Members of the Committee are Khalilah L. Brown-Dean (bio), Andrew Eder (bio), Judith Meyers (bio), Flemming Norcott, Jr. (bio), Marcella Nuñez-Smith (bio), and Diane Young Turner (bio).


  • Beth-El: $15,000 – To support additional staffing costs and cleaning at homeless shelter
  • BHCare: $30,000 - To support technology costs associated with telehealth and staff overtime for residential care
  • Bridges: $15,000 – To support infrastructure related to teleheath and remote work
  • Casa Otonal: $15,000 – To support kitchen staff and food to cook and deliver prepared meals to older adults
  • Catholic Charities – Centro San Jose: $15,000 – To support food, supplies, hygiene products, rental assistance and staffing costs
  • Clifford Beers: $35,000 – For gift cards to clients (families) who need help buying food
  • Christian Community Action: $20,000 – To support additional food, supplies, activities for families, and deep cleaning at homeless shelter
  • Columbus House: $20,000 – To support purchase of PPE, additional staff costs and food at homeless shelter
  • Community Action Agency: $20,000 – To support food and technology for regional social service agency providing service, referrals, and case management for low-income individuals
  • Community Soup Kitchen: $30,000 – To support a part-time chef and food to meet increased demand for prepared lunches for homeless and low-income individuals
  • Cornell Scott Hill Health Center: $40,000 – To support technology to conduct telehealth, PPE, and staffing
  • CT Hospice: $10,000 – To support cleaning supplies and preparation of facility to take on overflow of non-COVID-19 patients from YNHH
  • The Diaper Bank: $40,000 – To support driver and diapers to meet increased diaper need and delivery to distribution sites in Greater New Haven
  • EMERGE: $23,400 – To support stipends to clients, formerly incarcerated individuals who are unable to work during the pandemic
  • Fair Haven Community Health Center: $40,000 – To support technology to conduct telehealth, cleaning, PPE, and staffing as well as new services to Bella Vista Elderly Housing Complex
  • Fellowship Place: $10,000 – To support technology to enable staff to provide remote counseling for clients (individuals with mental illness and homeless), as well as emergency food and cleaning supplies
  • FISH of Greater New Haven: $7,500 – To support food delivery to homebound individuals (seniors and those with disabilities)
  • Junta: $20,000 – To support case management of high risk population as well as ongoing infrastructure needs
  • Liberty Community Services Inc.: $15,000 – To support additional staffing costs, cleaning supplies, and food at homeless shelter
  • Marrakech: $10,000 – To support food and cleaning supplies to deliver to clients to keep them safely home. Clients include seniors and those with brain injuries, developmental disorders, and mental illness
  • Mary Wade Home: $40,000 – To support costs of changed staffing model and providing transportation to staff so they avoid risks of public transportation
  • New Reach: $20,000 – To support additional staffing costs, food, and other basic needs at homeless shelter
  • Operation Fuel: $20,000 – To support oil deliveries to Greater New Haven low-income families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis
  • TEAM: $20,000 – To support increased food offerings to meet community need (meals and food pantry items)
  • Urban Community Alliance (formerly New Haven Family Alliance and VETTS): $25,000 – To support case management and crisis response to disconnected youth in New Haven and Hamden and technology for staff to continue outreach and case management
  • Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut: $25,000 – To support PPE, staffing costs and legal assistance on HR matters
  • WHEAT: $5,000 – To purchase food to meet increased need from people who have lost their jobs
  • Youth Continuum: $15,000 – To support additional staffing costs, technology and food/supplies

Going forward, grants will be made from the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund on a rolling basis.  Staff will continue to listen to organizations to more fully understand the issues they face.  These ongoing conversations will help our ability to meet organizational and community needs as our funds evolve over time. The Community Foundation has raised more than $1.1 Million in donations from individuals and contributed $500,000 to the Fund. As fundraising continues through the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, the Fund will adapt and adjust to the emerging needs of the community.

In addition to the funding made from the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund directly, United Way of Greater New Haven’s Board of Directors approved grants to DESK and Loaves & Fishes; these funds complement United Way’s ongoing collaboration with the Coordinated Food Assistance Network (CFAN), including organizing volunteers, designing delivery routes, and help with coordination around a new food delivery program.

In addition to the COVID-19 Community Fund distributions today, nonprofits received nearly $1.3 million in accelerated responsive grants and donor advised grants from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven last Friday.

“We’re attacking this virus on all fronts, fully recognizing that as there are immediate needs to be addressed, there will be needs to be met in the future,” said Ginsberg.

About United Way of Greater New Haven

United Way of Greater New Haven fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in greater New Haven. The organization, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020, brings people and organizations together to create solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges. We tackle issues that cannot be solved by any one group working alone. Join the movement to Live United at

About The Community Foundation

Thanks to the generosity of three generations of donors, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is composed of hundreds of individually named funds and distributes millions of dollars in grants annually to build a stronger Greater New Haven region. The Foundation’s 20-town service area includes: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Wallingford, West Haven, Woodbridge. For more information about The Community Foundation, visit, find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at

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