CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Surpasses $1 Million in Total Grants Distributed to Date

CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Surpasses $1 Million in Total Grants Distributed to Date

Support is still needed for long-term recovery in the CSRA

United Way of the CSRA and the Community Foundation for the CSRA announced today that the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund has distributed $1,073,000 to 39 organizations to aid local response efforts to COVID-19. Created on March 20, the fund provides swift and needed resources to nonprofit organizations on the front lines of the pandemic serving the community’s most vulnerable populations.

The investments to date have been focused on four critical areas of need in our region:

  • Food, Shelter, and Other Basic Needs – $767,000
  • Medical and Mental Health Services- $191,000
  • Child Care for First Responders and Critical Workers – $70,000
  • Educational Assistance – $45,000

“The local nonprofit community has responded to the pandemic with amazing flexibility and commitment to helping those who need it most. As their efforts continue, the Community Foundation and United Way are focused on how we can best provide resources to our critical nonprofits. We are immensely grateful for the outpouring of support for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to date. Support from our community continues to be needed to address ongoing challenges many are facing and help enable a long-term recovery,” stated Shell Berry, President and CEO of the Community Foundation.

All grants from the fund have been made possible by contributions from Augusta National Golf Club, Community Foundation for the CSRA, United Way of the CSRA, Chestnut Family Foundation, Bridgewater Fund, Bechtel Group Foundation, RBW Logistics, The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, South State Bank, Kirby Family Foundation, The Zeist Foundation, Georgia Power Foundation, Graphic Packaging International, Truist Foundation, Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, Bank of America Foundation and scores of other companies and individuals in our community.

Most recently, the following local organizations received a collective $377,000 in grants from the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support their efforts:

Lydia Project ($60,000) – This grant will assist women and men who are receiving services through Lydia Project as they are being treated for cancer. Funds will be used for increased needs around transportation, sheltering, medications and PPE. Where there has been a job loss, it will assist with utility and rent payments so they can maintain a stable living environment while their family member is being treated.

Greater Augusta Arts Council ($50,000) – Due to COVID-19, our local artists have experienced a significant loss of income due to social distancing requirements, closures of performance venues and cancelation of events, shows and classes. To help them through this crisis, nine local arts organizations have come together to provide financial support to this community.

That’s What Friends Are For ($50,000) – Due to COVID-19, animals are being abandoned at an alarming rate. To address fostering, food and vetting needs and to help animals stay in their existing homes where family resources may be scarce, five animal rescue groups in the region will work together throughout eight counties to make sure these animals stay in their homes or if fostered stay in good health until they can once again start their pet adoption programs.

The Salvation Army ($40,000) – Throughout this crisis, our local Salvation Army has been sheltering a large number of the homeless population to prevent exposure to and spread of the COVID-19 virus. This grant will allow them to continue this vital work. Funding will also help cover the continued costs associated with their seven day a week evening meal program distributed from the Kroc Center and offered at no charge to anyone who needs a meal.

Ronald McDonald House ($25,000) – In preparation of making the house fully operational again, Ronald McDonald House will incur extraordinary costs associated with cleaning and maintaining the house so that residents who have fragile health diagnosis will be safe while seeking treatment at the hospital.

Woodlawn UMC Preschool and Child Development Center ($25,000) – This grant will be used to provide childcare to the children of first responders and critical workers who are working through the COVID-19 crisis. It will also help with costs for the food pantry for the families and cover additional costs associated with daycare cleaning and PPE requirements.

Gap Ministries ($20,000) – This grant will assist with the added costs for their food, diaper distribution, and prescription program in addition to helping with the costs of PPE needed to maintain these services. All three programs are seeing higher numbers of requests, and it’s becoming more expensive to secure needed items.

Children’s Place ($15,000) – Due to COVID-19, Children’s Place has worked quickly to develop a framework of support for fragile families who are sheltering in place, have lost jobs or have experienced other life trauma. This grant will help these families with food, rent, utilities and remote counseling services. 

Giving Kitchen ($15,000) – Due to COVID-19 and its impact on restaurants, the Giving Kitchen has seen a surge in requests for assistance from food service workers. This grant will allow them to provide additional financial aid around rent, utilities and food requests from these workers in our area.

Hope House ($15,000) – Due to COVID-19 and job losses, residents of Hope House are not able to pay for childcare for their children while they are in meetings and counseling sessions. Hope House has quickly established an on-site childcare program for these needs, and the grant will help pay for this program.

The Hale Foundation ($15,000) – Men who are in treatment at The Hale Foundation have also found themselves out of work due to COVID-19. This means they are temporarily unable to financially support a portion of the cost of their treatment and living expenses. This grant will allow the program to cover some of the costs associated with the men’s treatment so they will not have any disruptions to their recovery.

Mask It Up ($15,000) – Masks have proven to be a vital part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Through a partnership with Carole Fabrics and United Way of the CSRA, these dollars will purchase 3,000 locally made masks and will be distributed to vulnerable populations in the greater Augusta area.

Miles for Cystic Fibrosis ($10,000) – This grant will provide vital services such as assistance with transportation, shelter and utility costs, provide food and assist with medical needs for those living in our area who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and have a family members with Cystic Fibrosis.

Columbia County Cares ($7,000) – This food pantry in Appling normally assists 300 families per month with food. Since the onset of COVID-19, they are serving most of these families on a weekly basis and are also serving many new families who have never had to ask for food support. This grant will help them purchase additional food to meet the increased demand.

Augusta Dream Center ($5,000) – The Augusta Dream Center has seen a dramatic increase in food requests in South Augusta. This grant will assist with the purchase of food for the elderly and shut ins who are in need.

Compass for Hope ($5,000) – Working with homeless people in our community, Compass for Hope goes into some of the most remote areas to make sure that this group of people have food during this time. This grant will help them secure food and purchase PPE so they can distribute these resources while keeping everyone safe.

Easterseals East Georgia ($5,000) – Individuals with disabilities who work through the Easterseals program have continued to provide essential services to the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To make sure these individuals stay healthy, they have increased costs associated with PPE and cleaning supplies. This grant will assist them with those costs.


United Way and Community Foundation staff, with guidance from a volunteer advisory committee comprised of respected community leaders, are continuing to work together to identify both short and long-term needs and gaps in resources during this ongoing pandemic. Because we anticipate our region experiencing continued economic burdens during this time, the Community Foundation for the CSRA and United Way will continue to assess the short and long-term impacts of this health and economic crisis on this area. Funding priorities may shift as the understanding of need and where we can be most impactful deepens.

As the need continues to rise and shift throughout the region, please consider donating to the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund today at www.uwcsra.org or www.cfcsra.org. In an effort to direct those most in need of immediate assistance to critical resources, individuals can get connected to United Way’s free information and referral service by dialing 2-1-1, or by visiting www.211csra.org to use the Community Resources Database. Each call is completely free and confidential.