Jackson County United Way awards first COVID-19 relief grant


Jackson County United Way has presented its first COVID-19 Response Emergency Relief Fund grant.

On Tuesday, that went to Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry in Seymour in the amount of $7,000.

Over the past month, United Way has raised more than $33,500 to support immediate economic stability and basic needs throughout Jackson County.

The funds raised will be used to help individuals and families as they weather the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the days and weeks to come.

“This grant is just the first of many that will be made from the Emergency Relief Fund,” said Tonja Couch, executive director of Jackson County United Way. “As more applications come in, we anticipate additional resources being invested back into the community.”

The grants are available due to the generosity of 80 individuals; civic organizations like Tri Kappa and 4-H Junior Leaders; small businesses like Nacho Momma’s Burritos; and corporate partners, including Cummins Foundation, SIHO, Old National Bank, Aisin Group Companies, Centra Credit Union, JCB and Truist Foundation.

“Our social service and faith-based organizations have been in weekly communication to assess emerging needs and direct service providers to better understand their most pressing challenges,” Couch said. “With this information, the COVID-19 fund distribution committee is able to make decisions on grants to organizations that serve vulnerable populations and provide flexibility to problem solve in a rapidly changing environment.”

The committee includes leaders from 17 nonprofit, faith-based governmental and community leaders who are experienced in understanding emerging unmet needs and grant management focus on the following types of services:

Food support, housing and utility assistance for those struggling to make ends meet

Child care assistance for those returning back to work

Strengthening access to resources for seniors and other vulnerable populations

Disaster planning and infrastructure support to connect people to services

“At this moment, our community is feeling the impact of layoffs and other job losses, increased child care needs due to school closures and significant food shortages for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Luke Nolting, president of the Jackson County United Way board. “We hope that this first wave of funding can help Anchor House begin to address food insecurity, hygiene and cleaning supply needs.”

Megan Cherry, executive director of Anchor House, said she appreciates the funding.

“We are very thankful for our ongoing partnership with United Way, and we look forward to using this support in continuing to join with them as we help families navigate their way to stability during these unprecedented times,” she said.

The purpose of the fund is to assist nonprofit organizations helping individuals and families with immediate COVID-19-related financial needs not covered by government programs or other traditional relief sources. Instead, the fund will provide financial assistance to nonprofit organizations that are eligible.

To be eligible, the organization must be recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit under IRS code 501(c)(3), serve residents in Jackson County and have an emergent organizational need or have a process to provide direct individual assistance for emergent needs.

If direct individual assistance is provided, the client will be asked to complete a Charity Tracker release of information and the organization must complete an assistance record in the Charity Tracker system.

Organizations wanting to apply can request funds through a simple application process available at jacsy.org/emergencyrelief. United Way is partnering with nonprofits to make sure there is child care, food and housing and utility assistance in place while keeping an eye on future unmet and emerging needs.

“We are focused on ensuring support for those families that have been hardest hit,” Couch said.

Payments will not be made directly to individuals or families requesting financial assistance.

United Way is convening biweekly conference calls to discuss emerging and unmet needs and planning for future needs with more than 40 nonprofit, faith-based governmental and community leaders.

In order to have one point of contact for multiple needs, United Way has created a COVID-19 assistance referral form to connect clients to needs to a variety of services. The form can be completed online at jacsy.org/COVIDhelp.

Every $100 donated will be matched dollar for dollar to the COVID-19 Response Emergency Relief Fund by the Indiana United Ways UNIN20 Grant up to $25,000.

Special provisions have been made under the recent CARES Act. These allow for individual taxpayers who choose not to itemize their deductions in 2020 to take a qualified charitable contribution deduction of up to $300.

One hundred percent of what is raised will be directly invested back into Jackson County’s most pressing needs in regards to this pandemic.

“Your generous contribution supports Jackson County’s human service needs during economic distress associated with COVID-19,” Couch said.

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To make a donation to the COVID-19 Response Emergency Relief Fund, call 812-522-5450, ext. 7, or mail a check with Emergency Relief in the memo to P.O. Box 94, Seymour, IN 47274.


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