Today, the partner organizations involved in the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund announced the recipients of the first round of pandemic relief funding totaling $170,000. The fund was created through a partnership between United Way of Summit County, the City of Akron, the County of Summit, Akron Public Schools, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Summit County Public Health and Job & Family Services to support those in Summit County impacted by or fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
In just two weeks, the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund has grown to more than $400,000, thanks to support from local corporations, nonprofit foundations and donations from individual members of the public. Last week, the GAR Foundation pledged $150,000 in support of the fund.
“As we always do, our community has stepped up in a big way,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “I want to personally thank the individuals, organizations, and foundations that have already donated to the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund. This first round of emergency grants will provide vital and timely funding to support our first responders, healthcare workers and those most in need.”
Of the relief funding announced today, $50,000 will go to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank for food acquisition and distribution during the pandemic. As the economic effects of the pandemic continue to play out, many residents have faced lost jobs, reduced paychecks and increased food insecurity.
$45,000 will go toward purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) for local medical personnel. With hospitalizations skyrocketing due to COVID-19 infections, hospitals around the country have struggled to keep up with the need for masks, gloves, gowns and other protective supplies for their healthcare workers. The funds will be divided equally among the three health systems that serve Summit County – Akron Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Summa Health.
“When there’s a crisis, the Akron community comes together, and this effort led by the United Way of Summit County is a perfect example,” said Grace Wakulchik, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital. “During this unprecedented time as we prepare to treat patients with coronavirus, these dollars are appreciated to make sure our front-line caregivers are properly prepared to do the work that needs to be done.”
$20,000 will support the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties. While stay-at-home orders have helped protect the population from infection, many women who face domestic violence find themselves with fewer places to turn for help. These funds will help the Battered Women’s Shelter meet increased staffing needs and provide continued service during the pandemic.
$20,000 will go toward rent and utility assistance through United Way of Summit County. United Way’s Housing Services program provides rent assistance to Summit County residents who are homeless or facing eviction. United Way has committed to paying the entirety of its rent assistance clients’ rent through at least the month of April. Additionally, the funds will help provide utility assistance to Financial Empowerment Center clients and those who call 211 for help.
$15,000 will go to Summit County Public Health and the Summit Emergency Management Agency to support local first responders, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect local residents throughout this crisis. The funds will be used to provide personal protective equipment and to support first responders who may be quarantined after exposure to COVID-19.
$15,000 will go to the Akron Area YMCA to support its pandemic child care center. An additional $5,000 will support the Shaw Jewish Community Center’s pandemic child care center. While most Ohioans have been ordered to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, healthcare professionals, first responders and those who provide essential services continue to report to work. With schools closed, these people face an urgent need for safe childcare.
The $170,000 announced today represents just a portion of the funding that will be distributed in the coming weeks. With the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continuing to grow across the state, the organizations involved in the support fund continue to monitor the developing situation in order to meet the needs of Summit County residents.
“Time is of the essence here,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit County. “The facts on the ground change every day, and we want to make sure we are providing agencies with the funds to make a difference as this crisis unfolds. Our community is stronger than this virus, and by working together and lifting each other up, we will come out of this crisis even stronger than before.”
To donate to the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund, visit uwsummit.org/covid-19.