Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund awards $500,000 in initial round of grantmaking

Fund grows to $5.73 million to support frontline nonprofit organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties

Release Date: 3.27.2020

CLEVELAND – The Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund coalition announced today its first round of weekly grants to support the Greater Cleveland nonprofit community during the ongoing pandemic. In total, $500,000 was awarded to the following organizations:

  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank ($300,000): To support the dramatically increasing needs of individuals impacted by food insecurity including children, families, seniors and individuals with health challenges. This funding will help to subsidize emergency food resources as well as programming and supplies that will be needed in the coming weeks and months. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio, having served more than 350,000 people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties in 2019.
  • MedWish International ($70,000): To collect and provide access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other in-demand medical supplies for local health care institutions. MedWish will identify the most needed items and pull those from its inventory to make them available as quickly as possible upon request. This includes ventilators, PPE and respiratory supplies. This grant will also help MedWish coordinate local donation drop-off locations throughout the community to collect excess items individuals may have in their homes that are in high demand by local health care facilities (such as gloves, masks and hand sanitizer).
  • Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) ($70,000): To provide emergency lodging that will allow unsheltered individuals to remain quarantined before the pandemic reaches its peak. By placing these individuals in emergency lodging, they will have the opportunity to avoid risks associated with sleeping outside and can practice more effective social distancing. Further, NEOCH will be able to centralize outreach and coordinate efforts more effectively since it will be easier to get food and supplies to the people it serves.
  • Senior Transportation Connection (STC) ($60,000): To continue to provide essential medical and food access services to older adults in the community. In many cases, STC serves as a last-resort service for older adults with mobility needs and limited social supports. More than half of those served by STC are 75 years and older, while nearly 60% are low income – two demographic groups identified as particularly vulnerable populations during this crisis.

The partners plan to continue to make grants once a week through June, with the potential to extend grant opportunities as needed and as additional funding resources become available through new partners joining the effort. Frontline nonprofits that have pressing needs related to the COVID-19 crisis response should email to receive more information about the streamlined funding process. The funding collaborative will continue to identify potential grantee partners, solicit guidance on proposed projects from community advisors and recommend final awards. Organizations that have already submitted funding requests will remain in consideration for future grant distributions until further notice.

Overall contributions to the Rapid Response Fund now total more than $5.73 million from 35 different corporate, civic and philanthropic partners alongside individual donations from across the region. New funding partners (since March 23) include Dominion Energy, Giant Eagle Foundation, The Gries Family Foundation, Karry & Jonathan Hatch, The McHale Family Foundation, The Sherwin-Williams Company, TEGNA Foundation and Three Arches Foundation. Funding partners urge other foundations, corporate entities, individuals and organizations to contribute to the fund via, where you can also view a list of partners to date. Donations of any amount are welcomed, and all contributions are tax deductible.

The Rapid Response Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand capacity in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by strategically and efficiently addressing impact from the outbreak. Initially, grant funding will support nonprofit organizations that provide community safety nets (e.g. food pantries, homelessness and housing assistance, etc.) and have strong experience working with the immediate needs of populations made vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Rapid Response Fund will support nonprofit organizations that serve:

  • People over 60 years of age, people with compromised immune systems, those who are pregnant, and others with increased health risks associated with the novel coronavirus
  • Low-income residents
  • Homeless people
  • Residents without health insurance and/or access to paid time off work
  • People with limited English language proficiency
  • Healthcare, service workers, and part-time workers
  • People of color
  • People with disabilities
  • Incarcerated and returning individuals
  • Other populations emerging with needs as the crisis unfolds

Based upon the charitable structure of the Rapid Response Fund, grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations and other public entities. The partners are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions, or other 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) organizations.

For more information or to donate, visit

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