Whidbey Community Foundation launched the COVID-19 Community Resilience Fund on March 19, 2020 with $25,000 seed funding designated by its Board of Directors. Through the generosity and support of the Island community and beyond, WCF raised over $480,000 for this Fund.
Thanks to our community, WCF awarded 100% of the COVID-19 Fund with 69 grants to Whidbey Island organizations. Awards have been used toward a variety of needs, including: purchasing Air Purifying Respirators for Whidbey Island’s only public-serving hospital; supporting increased demand at food banks; coordinating meal services to children, families, seniors, and those experiencing homelessness; tele-health therapy for survivors of abuse; tele-health services for early childhood intervention; free childcare for healthcare workers and first responders; and technology to support remote learning for homeless youth. The COVID-19 Fund has since pivoted to the Essential Needs Program.
How were grants made from the Fund?
Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic, WCF provided grants on a rolling basis to ensure dollars were deployed in the community quickly and responsively. We were able to provide multiple phases of support as the community needs and challenges evolved, and as we gained greater clarity about the course of this crisis.
WCF prioritized community-based organizations that are serving communities and individuals who are immediately and disproportionately suffering from this crisis. Our focus areas included, but were not limited to:
- Food insecurity
- Economic insecurity
- Housing insecurity
- Access to health care and prescription medications
- Costs related to mitigating virus transmissions
- Access to transportation
- Access to childcare
Based upon the charitable structure of the Fund, our grants were limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations and other public entities. We do our best to use philanthropic resources to address needs that are outside of governmental responsibility, but we also appreciate that philanthropy can often act nimbly in a way that government cannot.
Grantees of the COVID-19 Community Resilience Fund
- Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Island County – to support new technologies in order to continue its mentoring programs virtually for Island County’s most vulnerable students
- Central Whidbey Cooperative Preschool – to support accessible early education access for Whidbey Island families
- Citizens Against Domestic & Sexual Abuse (CADA) – for tele-advocacy and tele-therapy services for survivors
- Clinton Progressive Association – to support the use of the Clinton Community Hall for the Atlantis STEAM group to create medical-grade masks, using its 3D printer, which will be distributed to health care organizations
- Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools – to support Coupeville School District as it reopened in Fall 2020
- Coupeville Boys & Girls Club – to help cover ongoing scholarships for at-risk youth and children healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers
- Coupeville Farm to School – to help mitigate virus transmission for volunteers and students in the garden by supplying PPE and sanitizing products
- Coupeville School District – for Mental Health & Wellness, the funds were used to help hire a social worker for the school district to help with Enrichment, Engagement, and Mental Health.
- Foster Hearts – for the Food 4 Fosters Program for children in foster care and the families that care for them.
- Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund – to cover the unmet financial needs of our friends with dental expenses.
- Garage of Blessings – for emergency operational support
- Gifts from the Heart Food Bank – for emergency operational support
- Habitat for Humanity of Island County – to support Habitat’s Resiliency Fund which provides relief to their homeowners who are past due on their land lease payments
- Healthy Island Youth Initiative Physical Activity Scholarship Fund (fiscally sponsored by South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation)- to reduce financial barriers Island County families face when registering children for organized physical activities
- Helping Hand of South Whidbey – to support continued rent assistance for families and individuals and to increase assistance including utility payments, gas vouchers, and food access
- I Support the Girls – Whidbey Island – to distribute menstrual products for girls and women experiencing homelessness
- Island Senior Resources – to expand programs, including Meals on Wheels, medical transportation, resource referral, and a new program called “Staying Connected” to reach out to seniors and people with disabilities
- Island Shakespeare Festival – to purchase supplies needed to make free and reduced cost masks for the community
- Mother Mentors Whidbey Island – for general operating support
- North Whidbey Help House – for emergency operational support
- Oak Harbor Boys & Girls Club – to continue covering ongoing scholarships for at-risk youth and children of healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers
- Oak Harbor Educational Foundation – to support Oak Harbor Public Schools as they reopened in Fall 2020
- Oak Harbor School District – for Mental Health & Wellness, the funds were used to help hire a social worker for the school district to help with Enrichment, Engagement, and Mental Health.
- Oak Harbor Rotary Foundation – to support the expansion of their Food4Kids Backpack Program to Oak Harbor Intermediate School
- Opportunity Council – funds went to the NW Center for Child Care Retention and Expansion to be used for the administration and pass-through funding of grants to licensed child care providers on Whidbey Island in need due to the impacts of COVID-19
- Readiness to Learn – funds helped to staff the virtual Family Resource Center. Additionally, funds were used to purchase additional headphones, for prepaid cell phone fees, and for home organization kits for students and families in need for the new school year. To provide phones, minutes, and data hotspots for low-income students and those experiencing homelessness in the South Whidbey School District, to expand emergency services such as facilitating food bank access for homeless students
- Ryan’s House for Youth – for emergency operational support
- Small Miracles Coupeville Medical Support Fund – to help pay dental bills for neighbors-in-need in the Coupeville area
- South Whidbey Children’s Center – for School-Age Child Care Tuition Assistance
- South Whidbey Commons – to support their free soup program
- South Whidbey Good Cheer Food Bank – for emergency operational support
- South Whidbey Schools Foundation – to support South Whidbey School District as it reopened in Fall 2020
- SPIN Cafe – to provide meals for those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity in Oak Harbor
- The HUB Youth Central – to serve meals to 19 families while schools were closed and while the HUB’s youth center was closed due to COVID-19
- Toddler Learning Center – for tele-therapy services for children and their families
- Whidbey Homeless Coalition – to support services for those experiencing homelessness including food distribution, cleaning, outreach, and transportation
- Whidbey Island Grown (fiscally sponsored by Northwest Agriculture Business Center) – to support an online marketplace for an Island Food Hub program that aggregates and provides locally grown food to the community
- Whidbey Island Nourishes – funds were used to continue purchasing food supplies to meet commitments for the 2020-2021 school year.
- WhidbeyHealth Foundation – to purchase Air Purifying Respirators for Whidbey Island’s only public-serving hospital
All In Washington Partnership
WCF partnered with All In WA, a coordinated, statewide relief effort powered by a coalition of companies, philanthropic leaders, community foundations, United Way organizations, community leaders, frontline nonprofits, individuals, and public officials.
These groups came together to provide immediate critical and emergency support for workers and families most affected by COVID-19 across Washington State, and to mobilize committed community and philanthropic groups to go All In for WA.
For every dollar that was donated to Whidbey’s COVID-19 Community Resilience Fund, All In WA provided a match dollar for dollar. These dollars helped to offset the affects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our friends and neighbors across the state. The All In Washington campaign launched in May 2020 as an umbrella for WA COVID-19 relief efforts – to help connect community-led response efforts to donors and funders. The campaign was modeled with equity as a central focus to uplift partners who specifically reduce systemic barriers to health, safety, and opportunity.
Whidbey Island Essential Needs Program
As part of the effort to address the effects of Covid-19 on our community, a collaborative fundraiser with Goosefoot Community Fund was launched in April of 2021. Goosefoot and WCF partnered together to raise funds for the Whidbey Island Essential Needs Program, with a collective community goal of $100,000 by July 15, 2021. Thanks to the generous donations from our community, we surpassed that goal and raised over $120,000 for our Whidbey neighbors and friends that are still struggling from the impacts of the continued pandemic.
Opportunity Council’s Island County Service Center is currently administering this program. More information can be found on their website here.
Whidbey Community Foundation and Goosefoot are continuing to fundraise for the Essential Needs Program.
Updated April 2022