“I continue to be amazed by the generosity of the Winona Community Foundation and the Winona community.”
– Erik Sievers, Executive Director of Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center
When the pandemic hit the Winona area, there were many who found themselves in a financial crisis. The community quickly worked together to find ways to help.
As a response to the growing need, the Winona Community Foundation established the COVID-19 Relief Fund in April of 2020. This fund was a way for the Foundation to raise and collect charitable donations. The purpose of these dollars was to deliver direct relief to those struggling with financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. This included, but was not limited to, work shutdowns, layoffs, and childcare.
After an initial $25,000 was received in the fund, the agency partners of the fund received $5,000 to give out at their discretion to individuals in need. On May 1, 2020, the fund reached over $100,000. By 2021, the fund had reached over $200,000 thanks to generous donations both big and small.
When the Foundation took on the role of receiving contributions for this fund, we made a commitment that every penny would go back into the community for that purpose. If there were any funds remaining, these dollars would be distributed to our agency partner nonprofits for operational relief. Despite the pandemic’s lingering effects, the Winona Community Foundation’s Board of Directors recognized we are in a more “manageable” point in time. With that, the Winona Community Foundation’s Board of Directors voted to close out the established COVID-19 Relief Fund. At the time of this decision, there was $18,416.70 remaining in the fund.
As a beacon to many through this challenging time and to honor our commitment, the Foundation granted the remaining $18,416.70 to five of our agency partner organizations as a way to thank them for their efforts and for their own operational support as they serve as critical resources to our community. Each of our agency partner organizations were an essential resource to our community throughout the on-going pandemic. The following organizations received a portion of the fund: