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Nancy Fister, Erin Clemons and Karen Gibbs are all smiles at the new Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty office, located at 8897 Cincinnati-Dayton Rd.

Featured Article

Keeping Our Community Healthy

Community Health Fund Makes a Big Impact During Challenging Times

The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty (WCL) is a notable resource for local philanthropy, providing charitable funds and gift options for donors during all seasons. During the pandemic, they’ve added another way to assist local nonprofit organizations: the Community Health Fund.

Created last spring to issue quick, just-in-time rapid response grants, the Community Health Fund assists nonprofits to make the greatest impact during the pandemic.

“The rapid response grants only required one-page proposals with a 500-word explanation of the need and how they’d be able to meet the need,” explains Erin Clemons, Community Foundation president and CEO. “The Board approved that the grants committee could move quickly, and the committee was able to get the money out in a very expeditious manner.”

$86,200 was granted to thirteen organizations between March and July 2020, with wide-ranging impacts on medical services, rent and utility relief, food assistance and much more.

“We had medical grants to get temporary service tents and rapid testing at UC Health/West Chester Hospital, Atrium Medical Center Foundation and the Christ Hospital Foundation,” says Erin. “We had a group of high school students from Lakota Robotics apply to buy materials to 3D-print PPE. They had a big impact.”

“St. Vincent DePaul and the American Legion Post 681 were able to help with utility, rent, medical and food relief,” adds Karen Gibbs, Community Foundation programs and marketing director. “They were able to help people keep the lights and heat on at a time when breadwinners were out of work.”

The funds were able to go further because the grantee organizations already had strong networks in place in our area.

“Reach Out Lakota was short on some items, and when they received their grant money, their fantastic volunteers drove around to find items like milk, which a lot of young families really need, even when it was in short supply,” says Erin.

The team at the Community Foundation funnels 100% of Community Health Fund earmarked dollars into grants, foregoing administrative fees. They anticipate further needs in the community during the winter and welcome donations. They hope to distribute more grants to the organizations who are helping where people have been hit the hardest.

“Giving during this season, if you are able to, can help social service nonprofits who couldn’t have fundraisers this year,” says Erin. “This year presents challenges to everyone, but we’re trying to make the most out of these challenging times.”

Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty, 8897 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester, 513.874.5450, WCLFoundation.org

  • Nancy Fister, Erin Clemons and Karen Gibbs are all smiles at the new Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty office, located at 8897 Cincinnati-Dayton Rd.