Disaster Response Fund and Whitley County Cares

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Community Foundation of Whitley County has established the Disaster Response Fund for Whitley County, to channel needed resources to the immediate response and recovery needs facing our community. On Saturday, March 28th, the Foundation’s Board passed a resolution directing $100,000 to the non-permanent fund in the hopes that other individuals, businesses and foundations will join efforts to build support for our non-profit organizations and governmental entities offering access to appropriate health care and meeting essential human needs such as food and emergency services.

Over the past weeks, the County has been impacted as businesses have cutback operations, events have been cancelled, and schools have closed. It is not business as usual. For the Foundation, the safety and well-being of everyone in the community is the top priority. Many will feel the impacts of this virus for months to come.

“The Board was able to take this action thanks to the generosity of many residents who made gifts to the organization with the simple message to use their contribution where it’s needed the most,” said September McConnell, Community Foundation CEO. “Directing support to where local need is the greatest is a long-running focus of the Foundation and this commitment remains steadfast in this time of crisis,” she added. Established in 1991, the Community Foundation has directed over $40,000,000 in grants and scholarships back into Whitley County. This new, non-permanent fund will be used to mobilize grant dollars for community organizations addressing the effects of the pandemic.

CFWC is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak. The public charity is coordinating with local food pantries, and other nonprofit partners to identify and respond to specific needs as they arise. The Community’s help is needed to provide these needed resources.


There are several ways in which contributors can direct support during this time of great need in our area. There are two funds currently at the Community Foundation of Whitley County that related directly to the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • The Disaster Response Fund for Whitley County will employ a new model of grant making known as Rapid Response Grants that will allow for an easy application process for non-profits with streamlined review and approval in an effort to get funding out to grantees quickly.
  • The Whitley County Cares Fund was established in 2008 as a means for human service providers and church leaders to request targeted assistance for the most vulnerable members of our community. There is currently a $1 to $1 match for gifts to this fund up to $25,000. Please note due to IRS guidelines the Community Foundation cannot make gifts directly to individuals. Instead we work with local agencies who can provide much needed assistance.

Gifts to both the Disaster Response Fund for Whitley County and the Whitley County Cares Fund are tax deductible. The Community Foundation is set up to receive gifts on line via its website, or by check mailed to CFWC, 400 N. Whitley Street, Columbia City, IN 46725. The organization can also receive gifts of stock.

For individuals with Donor Advised Funds within the Community Foundation, contact September McConnell at 260-248-6420 or by email at sepwccf@gmail.com to direct a distribution.

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