"Supporting our neighbors is about more than being neighborly, it’s about being human. Our power is in our numbers. If we all give a little, we can help a lot.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted lives and organizations all over the world, and it's created particular hardship for nonprofits. Many are struggling to keep their doors open while still providing services the community relies on.
The Quick Response Community Fund was created by ECCF and the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley to support these nonprofits in their work. Thanks to the Fund's many generous donors, it was able to issue grants to dozens of Eau Claire area organizations. The following stories illustrate some of the excellent work these grants are supporting.
Thank you to all the donors who made these stories possible!
The Radical Response Program has delivered food to the doorsteps of clients who normally have to go to the food pantry in person. It has also made a tremendous difference in people's lives. Since Radical Response started, a 24-year-old Eau Claire client recently was motivated by COVID to get reconnected to case and case management. He was out of care for 6 months, unemployed, and homeless—really struggling.
With Case Manager Stephanie Richardson’s support, he’s currently getting back on meds, he reintegrated into care, and got labs done in order to get a new prescription. In addition, he got approved for the Ryan White Housing program, and he’s looking for a new apartment that will be paid for 12 months. Next step, job hunting. He has really turned things around in the last month! This would not be possible without the help of funders like Eau Claire Community Foundation who have helped us provide essential services during these difficult days of COVID-19.
Our goal at Anu is to be the last placement for every child that comes through our doors. Donors like you make this possible by providing support for innovative healing services that are critical for the children, youth, and families in our community.
This grant helped Anu fund:
- Necessary Supplies and PPE, including gloves, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, face masks.
- Chromebooks and laptops for youth. One family had three foster youth in one home, and they were trying to home school three children with one Chromebook.
- Purchases to support placements of children in Anu Foster homes during the pandemic, including clothing, car seats, books, diapers, and home school supplies.
- Calming Kits to address anxiety and PTSD that have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Kits are individualized to meet the specific needs of the child.
Thank you again for the generous support.
The ECCF grant assisted Bolton Refuge House (BRH) in covering expenses related to operating the 24 hour support services for domestic abuse victims throughout Eau Claire County. During the months of the Stay at Home Order, BRH has provided 84 individuals with emergency sheltering at the Farwell facility. The number of other support services, such as crisis calls, supportive listening, mental health counseling, legal advocacy, etc., are consistent if not higher during this order as well.
A victim wanted BRH to share that “the ripple effect of COVID-19 for victims is incredible, and sadly my children are suffering, as are so many others. Thank you for your support of victims, and Bolton who serves us.”
BRH could not do this work without the support of community individuals and funders like you. Thank you so much for helping BRH continue to serve our residents who are experiencing violence during such an unpredictable and challenging time.
We are so thankful for the support of the community during this uncertain time. Usually at this time, we're keeping members engaged academically while we're getting ready to welcome more than 100 youth for summer programming. Now we've gone virtual, and our staff has been busy keeping our youth engaged! Our staff, for many of our members, are mentors and friends.
New virtual programming includes Book Club with Chandler, Science with Tristan, and Healthy Snacks with Lexi. The Club's Meals to Members program has also provided almost 1500 meals to over 100 families so far.
We can't wait until the kids walk through our doors again. Now, more than ever, they'll need a safe, positive environment as they transition to their new “normal” after social isolation. When we do re-open, we'll work hard to curb learning loss through our educational programs and activities. The Boys & Girls Clubs will do whatever it takes to build great futures!
Just over a month ago, the Sojourner House moved its services to the Hobbs Municipal Ice Center/O’Brien Rink to increase social distancing for homeless individuals seeking a shelter to stay in. With the generous support of the community and the assistance of volunteers, we continue to provide a safe place to those in need without decreasing who we can take in. We are currently serving over 50 individuals each night. Assisting people in this vulnerable population is an admirable ambition of the Eau Claire Community, and it is confirmation of the compassion that exists in the hearts of our neighbors & friends. Helping others in need often generates a sense of peace in our own lives.
We're excited to celebrate how emergency funding from ECCF helped us transition to helping kids while being safer at home. Typically, children come to our learning centers twice a week for multisensory structured language education lessons, but during this time, we were able to transition to lessons being taught virtually. Within a week, we were able to provide intensive training to all of our staff on how to utilize online platforms and technology in the most effective ways for our struggling learners. We were able to work with families to help them with the transition and work through challenges associated with different kinds of devices being used. Once the initial transition was complete, we were able to move forward with regular, consistent lessons without skipping a beat.
We have found that our kiddos and their families are resilient, and our team is always ready to grow and learn. At a time when school is even more challenging because of closures, our kiddos are once again overcoming huge hurdles and demonstrating their ability to adapt in new ways. Every lesson allows us to continue being flexible around the needs of the child while adhering to the methods of instruction known to be effective based on the science of reading. We have been able to continue training new practitioners, retrain seasoned educators, and provide real-time lessons with kiddos because of the support received from ECCF. We are grateful!!!
Children’s Wisconsin – Eau Claire Child Advocacy Center has utilized the grant to purchase basic necessities for children and families who have been interviewed regarding abuse and neglect allegations. Families are very grateful to receive items such as clothing, basic hygiene supplies and basic care necessities. Many families had expressed concern about being able to shop for these necessities, due to lost income related to COVID shutdowns or restrictions on work. Other families identified that they literally could not go shopping due to having multiple children that they were unable to take into stores because of COVID-related restrictions and concerns.
Children's Wisconsin compiled “COVID RELIEF kits” for their child and adolescent clients. These kits contain sensory items and a plethora of other activities designed to help children and families make it through all the days at home in a safe way. These activities are also being used in the sessions the therapists are completing with their clients (both in person and via virtual sessions), as they learn to use the sensory activities to calm and regulate their own emotions.
Thank you so much!
The Chippewa Valley Free Clinic is genuinely uplifted by the Quick Response Community Funding which allowed us to continue providing healthcare with the recommended safety features in place. Telehealth is delivering ongoing care to patients, interfacing with a health provider, and allowing them to triage who needs to be seen in person. The Ask A Nurse service is helping many people who have questions about their current health care and well-being during the time of sheltering at home. Patients have expressed how thankful and relieved they are they are for home delivery of medications. Phone check ins also provide a social connection to patients who are getting depressed from the isolation. Ask a Nurse can schedule call backs for wellness goals and to monitor depression. Patients are able to call in with concerns and to schedule times to be seen by CVFC physicians either in-person or by video, instead of using emergency departments.
For almost 40 years, the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild has developed, encouraged and promoted opportunities for community members of all ages to experience live theatre arts whether onstage, backstage, behind the scenes or in a classroom.
Theatre is about being together, about shared experiences – stories, history, culture and people. Arts are healing and can be a great unifier.
During a typical summer, more than 600 youth are involved in our Theatre Arts programming and classes, including our annual High School Shakespeare Workshop. We partner with the Eau Claire Area School District and the Boys and Girls Club to provide free arts programming for children ages 4 to 18. Due to the pandemic, all in-person classes have been canceled to keep children and their families safe.
Thank you to the ECCF and its donors for helping us as we try to operate without ticket sales or patrons or participants or students. We look forward to and plan for the day we can serve the community safely and together again.
The Student Emergency Fund (SEF) at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) provides financial assistance to meet the basic needs of students during a time of crisis. During the 2019-2020 academic year, we saw a 71% increase in requests for financial help—most of this (45%) coming during the last eight weeks of the spring semester. The funds provide support for basic needs such as rent, utilities, transportation, and medical costs. The goal is to keep students on track in their educational journeys.
Madisyn, a recipient of an SEF grant this spring, shared this:
“I take classes during the day and work at CVTC’s Manufacturing Campus in the evening for 4 semesters now. Due to COVID-19, I am no longer able to work anymore while the campus remains closed. This greatly affects me financially, as my campus job was my main source of income while I am living in Eau Claire and going to school. I reached out to the financial aid office and they informed me about a Student Emergency Fund. I applied and am now receiving funds to help me with my housing and auto bills while COVID-19 continues to affect me. This financial assistance has taken off some of the burden, allowing me to continue my classes at CVTC and live in Eau Claire.”
The Quick Response Community Grant has allowed the CVTC Foundation, Inc. to serve 10 students just like Madisyn! We are grateful for the support and commitment of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley and the Eau Claire Community Foundation.
Thank you so much for the generous and kind support received from the Quick Response Community Fund. Since 1984, the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (ECAHMAA) has been the only culturally competent agency serving the needs of Hmong individuals living in Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire counties of northwest Wisconsin. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECAHMAA has been unable to continue our in-person interpretation program, a critical source of revenue for program continuity and agency operations.
With funds received, our essential services to victims/survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and historical trauma were continued. Enabled by newly purchased remote communication devices and creativity, our advocates were able to contact and deliver in-home support to members of our Kajsiab and Viv Ncaus support group members. Thoughtful packages containing snacks, toiletries, coloring activities, and a DVD detailing COVID-19 Safety Measures in the Hmong language were delivered to members' homes.
Ua Tsaug (thank you)!
The $5,000 grant we received from ECCF was instrumental in helping us get set up virtually so that we could continue to serve our community through curb-side adoptions, surrenders, and with our community pet pantry. Our goal is to be there for the animals of Eau Claire County but also for the residents.
This pandemic has created a need for free pet services such as food and supplies, which we offer with our pet pantry. It has also created more need for adoptions, as people are home more and can care for their pets. The money was used to help us with the cost of turning our whole organization virtual and to train our staff in new procedures. In addition, as operating revenue did decrease, because we had to shut our doors to the public (we are open by appointment only), the money also helped fund vaccines and medical care for our animals in need. Thank you, Eau Claire Community Foundation, for these needed funds!
We are very thankful and lucky to live in a community that is so incredibly supporting of local non-profits dedicated to making a difference. Eau Claire Jazz, Inc. supports & promotes the culture and awareness of jazz and its appreciation through the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, Jazz Crawl and Gatsby's Gala. Given the cancellation of all social events starting in April, we followed guidelines and cancelled the Jazz Festival and Jazz Crawl. These two keystone events bring in over 2,500 community members, 120 school bands, 50 live bands and is spanned from the beautiful Pablo Center, through downtown, and to the University Campus. All in all, we pride ourselves on a Festival that is able to touch and influence so many people. Many thanks to the Quick Response Grant, we were able to continue funding for our staff as well as start to produce alternate educational opportunities for the schools and entertainment outlets for the Community.
We are an organization that focuses on “blooming where we are planted,” so we are only getting started with opportunities we hope to provide for both the community and the students that look forward to the Festival each year.
How do you stay safer at home when you don't have a home? For families experiencing homelessness, COVID-19 has made a tough situation even more difficult. The search for permanent housing has become even more challenging, with many landlords not accepting applications. Many community organizations and government agencies that families would go to for services can now only be reached through phone and mail, which could mean longer wait times.
Family Promise of the Chippewa Valley has continued to provide services during this time. It has always been a team effort, requiring the combined talents of staff, volunteers, and a network of host congregations to provide shelter, support and advocacy for families experiencing homelessness. Our incredible volunteer partnership allows Family Promise to return three dollars of services for every dollar donated. The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated scaling back these volunteer activities for a time, and at the same time has jeopardized fundraising opportunities such as our annual Hike for the Homeless. Thanks to the ECCF Quick Response grant, we are able to offset some of the increased payroll this requires until we are able to welcome our volunteers back at full capacity.
The Family Resource Center is so grateful to ECCF for the relief funding, which will help us stay strong in the months and years to come.
Like you, FRC families need to know they are not alone during this challenging time. Our certified Parent Educators are reaching out to families with phone calls, virtual home visits—even Zoom playgroups. Both kids and parents are so grateful to be able to connect again! We’ve also created dozens of videos for parents and young children to watch together sharing craft ideas, stories, and ways for parents to support their young children’s growth and development.
In the words of one young father: “I really appreciate The Family Resource Center...from parent cafes, home visits, dad groups, to just making us feel welcomed. Even [during COVID], they've been a big support checking in with our family. I really appreciate this place, the people, their heart, the genuine care, and everything they do for me and so many other people.”
With the support of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, Feed My People has been able to quickly react to the escalating need in our community through Pop-Up food pantries in Eau Claire, Augusta, Fall Creek and Fairchild.
Asking for help is new to many of our neighbors. Recently a lady drove up to the Pop-Up teary-eyed, and nervously said, “I’ve never done this before.”
Our staff and volunteers are amazingly grateful for the opportunity to serve. Thank you for helping make this possible.
Helpful Hearts Foundation is so deeply grateful for the grant ECCF has awarded us. Our nonprofit supports families financially when a loved one dies. Our foundation is particularly important right now as more local families have financial needs, unexpected medical costs, or may find themselves in the process of coping with an unexpected death.
Your contribution has brought families relief in knowing their loved one’s body is cremated and returned to the family as quickly and safely as possible, or that they are able to proceed with a burial as soon as possible. You have given these families the power of healing through this time of significant loss. It is so much deeper than dollars. This is connecting families and loved ones with honor when their person is gone; when we are lacking those things the most. It is the greatest gift we can provide to support those who cannot do this alone. Since the date this grant was awarded, we have already provided assistance to three families.
Thank you very much for your grant to Hope Gospel Mission. Due to the COVID pandemic and the Wisconsin state order, all of our reuse stores were closed for eight weeks. As the stores provide the majority of the funding for our organization, this was a huge loss of income.
Your grant helped provide for some of the operating costs during this difficult time. Through your help, as well as many other caring people and organizations in our area, we have been able to continue serving homeless single men, single women, and women and children.
We opened our new Hope Renewal Center for Women and Children in January and are now, for the first time, serving women and children. We have three newborn babies among the families staying in this new center.
Thank you so much for helping us continue to serve our most vulnerable neighbors during this challenging time.
The outpouring of support from our community has been truly inspiring and impactful. Our #bluearmy appreciates your love. ❤️
Posted by HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital - Eau Claire, WI on Saturday, May 9, 2020
Thank you so much for awarding HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital with a $10,000 grant which provided financial support to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for colleagues at the mobile testing sites, including CAPR respiratory helmets, N-95 professional masks, face shields, procedure masks, gowns, and nitriale gloves. The drive-through testing sites at 617 Clairemont Avenue in Eau Claire and the campus of St Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls have been operational for over a month now. Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms is triaged through virtual care to ensure that they meet the criteria for testing. Once it is determined they meet the criteria, a ticket is issued to visit the site.
Our goal, with the new exact sciences kits, is to increase this testing to at least 50 a day, and we will do whatever the community needs providing we can get adequate testing kits, which has been our rate-limiting step.
The L.E. Phillips Career Development Center (CDC) has been in the Chippewa Valley over 60 years, providing opportunities for individuals with Disabilities and Disadvantages. At the end of March, we converted a portion of our upholstery department into mask making. CDC appreciates the Eau Claire Community Foundation as well as all of the wonderful donations we have received in response to our production of face masks for distribution.
Some of our employees are not able to be at CDC but would like to work. Shown above are employees working from home to package single masks. Our goal is to make and distribute 40,000 masks to our community members. Many support CDC, and it feels great to “give back” when needed. Thank you to everyone for the positive response, your support and investment in our incredible organization!
Three times a week the Senior Center holds a Zoom fitness class. The best part about the class is what they call "Coffee Chat." Participants get together on screen to chat about everything and anything.
"I was so used to seeing my friends on a weekly basis, and then along came the isolation! I cannot tell you how valuable it is to see smiling faces and hear cheery voices," one of the members commented.
One other valuable comment was, "We never say goodbye; it is always until next time! Something great to look forward to!"
Since 1986, Literacy Chippewa Valley has been providing Adult Basic Education services to those in need, and it continued to do so despite the pandemic. It was able to provide limited services for its students during the Safer at Home period. Family Literacy English Language Learning (ELL) students converted their classroom to an online format. Unfortunately, Corrections Education students had no contact with their teacher as they were in complete lock down, unable to leave their cells. They did have Book Group books to read. Some 1-1 tutor pairs met via video conferencing.
It was a brand new experience for students and tutors alike who had no experience with the technology. LCV provided magazines and reading material to the Sojourner House temporary shelter in Hobbs Ice Arena. Students also had access to Learning Upgrade, a gaming app for Adult Basic skills.
Many thanks for the emergency grant.
Positive Avenues is a daytime resource center serving adults experiencing mental health concerns and/or homelessness; it provides trauma informed services that are recovery oriented and person-centered. In mid-March, Positive Avenues moved all programming and services to the Hobbs Municipal Ice Center/O’Brien Rink, a space currently shared with Sojourner House. Quick Response Community Funding has allowed us to continue to provide services for more than 60 individuals daily including: providing lunches four days per week; purchasing 100 cloth face masks to enhance safety for guests, volunteers, and staff; purchasing cleaning supplies; and providing activities for guests to help keep them occupied while in residence. Funding provided by the ECCF has also allowed us to increase staffing so that Positive Avenues staff members are available from 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM 7 days a week. The generous support Positive Avenues has received has allowed us to continue our mission to: Act compassionately. Serve humbly. Lead courageously.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact Kim Campy at Lutheran Social Services at Kimberly.email@example.com 414-416-7862. All volunteers will be required to have a background check and fill out an application. If interested in providing a meal on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, please contact Linda Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-246-2507.
Pablo Center is extremely grateful for the financial support we recently received through the emergency grant, so thank you!
We have been part of a network (Chippewa Valley Makers) to produce Face Shields and ear straps for area medical providers. We would be working to support UW-Eau Claire’s effort (as part of a national program) to produce nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing through the use of the Formlab Form 3 printer that we hope to acquire through this grant. There are approximately 300 swabs made in one print. The bottom portion of the swab is quite soft and is the part that takes the sample and then gets cut and submersed in the test for COVID-19.
Thank you again for your work in supporting organizations and nonprofits in particular!
The School District of Altoona applied for the Quick Response Grant for the COVID-19 Emergency Response to feed our Altoona families and students. This grant has allowed us to serve 70 families in kindergarten through 12th grade. These families were vulnerable before COVID-19 began, as many of the families already faced food scarcity issues. With Safer At Home, these families are in dire crisis, with even more parents and guardians losing jobs and many without transportation to get to the grocery store.
We now mail out Kwik Trip vouchers for eggs, milk, and produce. Kwik Trip is on the bus transit, so families can get to the stores to pick up their staples. The mailings go out weekly, and they prevent us from gathering during the Safer at Home. They also consistently reach our families to support their food needs. The School District of Altoona is so grateful to the Quick Response Grant. Thank you so much!!
Since 1993, The Community Table (TCT) has been reducing food insecurity in the Chippewa Valley. With the help of the ECCF emergency grant, TCT has been able to purchase take-out items that allow it to provide an average of 100 meals a day to people in need. This includes 60 meals that are brought to Hobbs Ice Arena for those staying in the 24-hour facility led by Sojourner House and Positive Avenues. TCT was also able to purchase more cleaning supplies in order to keep patrons, volunteers and staff as safe as possible. It also helped TCT keep all of its staff on payroll. On-site Kitchen Coordinators as well as office staff are able to continue TCT’s mission of reducing food insecurity in the Chippewa Valley.
Thank you, Eau Claire Community Foundation, all of its contributors, and the Eau Claire Community for helping TCT during this unprecedented time. Having support from ECCF as well as the donors means the world to us.
Thank you again for your generous grant. It allowed us to rebuild and expand our Internet services at Trinity Equestrian Center in order for us offer Telehealth (even from the pastures) for our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also allowed us to continue serving our high risk clients. This support covers a wide spectrum of helping clients stay focused on their daily goals, which when accomplished, helps stave off disengagement, dangerous isolation, suicide attempts, and completions.
Your support has been an incredible blessing to us. We have been able to serve even more clients than originally expected, and have found it to be seamless, and very effective.
We so appreciate your willingness to step out in radical and innovative ways to help organizations like ours during this time of crisis. We couldn’t continue to do what we do without your support!
At the UWEC Children’s Nature Academy it was childcare as usual. Then in an instant, numbers began to drop. What was left was the essential workers who needed us most and a potentially unmet need.
At one point, closing seemed inevitable. It was a glimmer of hope when we received our $5,000.00 award from ECCF. This money was used to help pay costs for our staff who were providing care. Knowing that someone else cared about our success and our community need was just what we needed.
At first when other children of essential workers started enrolling, we were apprehensive about our safety regulations, but everyone worked together to make sure that the Children’s Nature Academy was a healthy and happy place for children despite the situation.
Thank you so much for believing in our ability to maintain childcare during this difficult time. Thank you for your support and your generous grant. We are truly grateful.