Grants aid COVID-19 response

Staff Reports

The Community Foundation of Jackson County paid out three grants from a donor-advised fund Wednesday to help area nonprofit agencies stepping up their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fred and Tracie Moritz of Seymour recommended the grants from the Everett V. and Maria Moritz Fund on Tuesday.

They include a $1,200 grant to the Boys and Girls Club of Seymour, $400 to Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry and $400 to the Community Provisions of Jackson County Inc. food pantry.

“With COVID-19 disrupting so many lives, we have to do something to help any way that we can,” Fred said of the decision to recommend grants from the fund, which was established in August 1997.

It’s among more than 200 funds administered by the foundation.

“We hope this helps the agencies do their work in these challenging times,” he said of the grants. “This is a situation that these agencies could not have budgeted for, and the need is great. I hope others see the need and contribute, too. The nonprofits in our community are going to need help.”

Advisers to the foundation’s 16 donor-advised funds received annual reports in March, outlining the amount of money available for granting this year, said Dan Davis, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer.

“Donor-advised funds allow the fund adviser the flexibility to make grants as he or she sees the need arise,” Davis said. “Fred’s decision to recommend grants this week is a great example of how these funds can provide important support during a time of need.”

The need for assistance through grants provided by the generous gifts to the foundation can only expect to grow this year, Davis said.

“That seems certain, just as the degree of increased needs remains quite uncertain,” he said. “Like others, including the Jackson County United Way, the foundation is monitoring the ever-changing situation. After all, we’re all in this together, and together, we’ll all get through it.”

To help local charitable agencies deal with the financial challenges of the pandemic, the foundation’s board of directors created a new fund — the Jackson County COVID-19 Response Fund — and approved a $15,000 Impact grant to kick-start it.

To contribute to the fund, you can mail a check to the foundation at P.O. Box 1231, Seymour, IN 47274 or visit, click on the “Donate Now” button and follow the directions.

Local agencies have been faced with increased demands and even new roles with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boys and Girls Club of Seymour, for instance, has expanded club hours to provide services since schools closed down to help fight spread of the virus. The number of children being served is limited to allow staff and volunteers to provide proper distancing between children.

The grant is greatly appreciated as the club deals with increased costs, Executive Director Ryon Wheeler said.

“We have parents who are scared and don’t know what they will do with their kids,” he said. “They are worried about just working and paying their bills and don’t know how they will do that if they don’t have a safe place for their kids.

“The Moritz family has been supporting this community for years, and it is no surprise they would step up again during these difficult times,” Wheeler said. “On behalf of the kids and families we serve, thank you.”

One of the greatest increases faced by the club is the cost of wages for extra hours resulting from the COVID-19 response.

“We normally plan for four hours a day with kids during the school year,” Wheeler said. “Our extended 11-hour days are reserved for summer and school breaks. These extra seven hours a day and lower ratios due to CDC guidelines has increased all of our staff hours.

“Additionally, with eLearning, we must have smaller ratios to help kids complete their tasks, and additional cleaning throughout the program day creates the need for extra supplies to keep our kids healthy,” Wheeler said.

The grant to Anchor House will help it meet a growing need for food at the pantry, Executive Director Megan Cherry said.

“We are very thankful and appreciative for this unexpected assistance,” she said. “We have been overwhelmed with the needs of the community in regards to food assistance, and this will greatly help us be able to continue to meet the high demand for feeding those in need in our community.”

The added demand for help from the pantry has outpaced expectations, Cherry said.

“We have seen a significant amount of new clients in need due to this time of crisis and so many being financially impacted by not being able to work,” she said.

The pantry also is seeing an increase in the number of senior citizens needing assistance as result of the COVID-19 response.

“We expect this trend to continue until we are able to see a decrease in the COVID-19 cases and everyone is able to return to work and resume unrestricted travel,” Cherry said.

Community Provisions executive directors Chuck and Phyllis Seybold are finding much the same increase in demand.

“We find larger families coming in and many first-time clients,” Chuck said. “Phyllis and I are anticipating higher than average numbers of requests as news indicates we are in for a surge within two weeks.

“Community response is tremendous,” he added. “We are not in this alone, as we wish all other services within the area strength and safety during these trying times.”

The grant from the Moritz Fund did not surprise Seybold, however.

“We’re totally humbled but definitely not surprised,” he said. “Fred is a prime example of what every good Christian citizen should be.”

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To contribute to the Jackson County COVID-19 Response Fund, mail a check to Community Foundation of Jackson County, P.O. Box 1231, Seymour, IN 47274 or visit and click on the "Donate Now" button and follow the directions.