Tory began by explaining how the Crisis Response Fund was established. A couple weeks ago, Tory and Amy were all on a call with Western New York Funders talking about emergency funding for WNY.  Both understood that an Emergency Response Fund was sorely needed specifically for this region too. 
The United Ways and Community Foundations of Chautauqua County are working with direct service organizations and government agencies to identify critical needs and resource gaps and the best approach to disseminate emergency funds with the appropriate sense of urgency.
The goal of this initiative is to ensure these funds are flexible enough to be used effectively, while achieving the highest degree of impact, transparency and accountability. Awards will complement the work of government and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. 
Over $835,000 has been raised to date for the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund.  An amazing number! 13 different local funders contributed seed money of over $700K.  Many of these Foundations convened all of their trustees in emergency fashion to help seed the initial amount. 
Funders are:
  • Carnahan-Jackson Foundation 
  • Chautauqua Region Community Foundation
  • Cummins Foundation 
  • Holmberg Foundation 
  • Lenna Foundation 
  • Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation 
  • Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr Foundation 
  • United Way of Northern Chautauqua County 
  • United Way of Southern Chautauqua County 
The grants are only available to 501c3 organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution (schools, faith-based organizations and other public entities).
There is a small group of people from the community who are reviewing the applications as they come in.  Our very own Vince Horrigan chairs this sub-committee and Kathy Burch is a member of the sub-committee.  We have many Rotarians who are involved in this process which is wonderful. Thank you to all Rotarians who have helped in this effort.   
Amy shared that there is a level of unprecedented collaboration between funders and local organizations.  It’s been amazing!  The interesting idea about this fund is you can also become a fundraiser as well.  As a family or business, you can become a fundraising team raising money for the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund. 
There will no more than a seven day turnaround to get funds after an application has been submitted.  This truly is a well thought out process to get the funds to the right places at the right time.
The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the United Way have been working together in quite unprecedented ways.  Applications that have been submitted so far are organizations that are feeling the financial hardships immediately. 
This whole initiative is really connecting people. The fund will use local dollars to compliment FEMA funding and the CARES Act funding. The Chautauqua County COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund money will be used to act as a bridge to further funding that will be available from other sources. 
For more information about the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, please visit,
Our Community coming together in trying times is a wonderful thing.  Thank you Amy and Tory for your leadership!