June 24, 2020

Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund Raises Over $1 Million and Awards Grants with New Grant Priorities

The Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund has raised over $1 million. On June 9, 2020, Blue Shield of Northeastern NY announced a contribution of $125,000, increasing the fund’s total raised dollars to $1,057,000. As of today, the fund has awarded 91 grants totaling nearly $1 million that will continue to address emerging needs in our community related to the pandemic.

“The Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund has been an extraordinary regional effort to address the community’s most basic needs due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said John Eberle, President & CEO of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. “The Community Foundation, United Way, and our funding partners are proud of the efforts that have raised over $1 million and will continue to distribute every dollar to local nonprofits that are stepping up during the pandemic. We are grateful for these vital human service providers, because without their hard work, dedication, and service, we would be in a very different situation in our community.”

Since its inception, the fund has granted nearly $1 million to local nonprofit organizations coordinating basic needs, addressing food insecurity, providing shelter and housing support, and delivering healthcare and mental health services. Grants have been made to 91 grantees serving over 400,000 people throughout the Greater Capital Region. The majority of the awards have supported organizations in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties, however, the fund has also supported organizations serving Columbia, Green, Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties. The most recent grant recipients include:

  • American Red Cross of Northeastern New York – Supporting a multitude of emergency services including blood and plasma donation collection, mental health support, and volunteer coordination to support food delivery
  • AVillage.., Inc. – Increasing the capacity of its ambassador program to support the residents in the South End of Albany
  • Berkshire Farm Center & Services for Youth – Providing support for foster care services including mental health for foster youth and families as well as emergency assistance
  • Catskill Center for Independence – Assisting with food and prescription delivery services to residents of Schoharie County
  • Center for Disability Services – Supplying resources including personal protection equipment to its direct care staff serving individuals with disabilities as well as hardware for telehealth services
  • City Mission – Providing support for medical services and the workforce connector initiative
  • Grateful Villages – Assisting its community health outreach services to at-risk communities including people of color as well as immigrants and refugees
  • Hudson Valley Community College Foundation – Supporting an Emergency Fund to assist students in need with food, housing, tuition, and other basic essentials
  • Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York – Increasing support for home food and grocery delivery services, counseling and case management services, and funding for the supportive phone calls and weekly online support groups
  • Montgomery County Department of Aging – Supporting the weekend food backpack programs in Montgomery County
  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County – Providing financial support for emergency and temporary rental housing assistance to low-income residents in Saratoga County
  • Saratoga Center for the Family – Purchasing personal protective equipment and resources to allow its center to open for essential mental health services for under-resourced children and their families
  • Saratoga Chabad – Assisting its kosher food delivery services for families in Northern Saratoga County
  • Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. – Increasing the capacity for immigrant support services in Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties
  • Schenectady Community Ministries ­– Expanding its food pantry and summer meals
  • Schenectady County Community College Foundation, Inc. – Supporting an Emergency Fund to assist students in need with food, housing, tuition, and other basic essentials
  • Schenectady Inner City Ministries – Providing support for its food pantry and expanding farming and food access at Schenectady Urban Farms
  • The Albany Damien Center – Supporting basic need services for people living with HIV/AIDS
  • The Center for Community Justice ­– Providing emergency resources such as clothing, vouchers for phone and utility needs, and other emergency assistance for individuals re-entering society and living in Schenectady County
  • Transitional Services Association – Purchasing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to assist staff in serving their clients with severe persistent mental illness and substance use disorder/addiction
  • Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, Inc. – Providing financial support to for emergency and temporary rental assistance to low-income residents in Rensselaer County
  • Welcome Chapel Missionary Baptist Church – Supporting food services including lunch boxes, hot meals, and food deliveries for people under-resourced in the City of Albany


As the region begins to reopen, the fund is considering new priorities in the second phase of funding. The three priorities will include resources for emergency assistance providers, assisting child care services, and supporting children and youth service programs. The fund also identified other critical needs that considered critical to supporting including personal protection supplies for organizations serving vulnerable populations and addressing regional issues related to food, supplies, and childcare systems.

  • Capital District YMCA – Supporting the safe opening of summer camp programs in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties
  • Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County – Providing resources for summer tutoring programs
  • Team HERO – Assisting with materials for summer youth programs
  • The ARK – Supporting summer childcare programs for children living in Troy, Albany, and Cohoes
  • Unity House of Troy – Addressing unemployment and the need for increased cleaning by supporting the Summer Ambassador program which hires people from vulnerable communities offering part-time jobs, career coaching, and training
  • YMCA of Schenectady – Support for child care services including the Jerry Burrell Summer Camp
  • YWCA of NENY – Offering child care services to assist local women and families in financial need


“The generosity of our community has allowed us to expand the fund’s impact and continue to address the shifting needs in our region as we work through the recovery phase of this crisis.” said Peter Gannon, President & CEO of United Way for the Greater Capital Region. “Together as a region, we have been able to help many people who are struggling with unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic, but there is still a lot work to do.  It is critical that we continue to work together to ensure organizations on the frontlines can meet the basic needs of every person in our community.”

Over 34 corporate and philanthropic organizations have contributed to the fund including Arrow Family of Companies, Ayco, a Goldman Sachs Company, Bank of America, Berkshire Bank Foundation, BlueShield of Northeastern New York’s Blue Fund, B’Nai B’rith Gideon Foundation, Callanan Industries, Inc., CDPHP, Citizens Charitable Foundation, the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, GE Healthcare, Howard & Bush Foundation, Hunt Real Estate Charitable Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., KeyBank, Mercury Screen Printing, MVP Health Care, National Grid, NYS Health Foundation, NYSUT, Plug Power, Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation, Regeneron and the employees of Regeneron, Rockefeller College’s Philanthropy and Civil Society Class Fund, SABIC, the Schenectady Foundation, Sheehan Productions, Stephen McKee Foundation, Times Union, Tokyo Electron Limited, Tri-City Rentals/Massry Realty Partners, the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, United Way of Montgomery County, UPS, and Wells Fargo Advisors.

The Community Foundation’s donor-advised funds increased their grantmaking to address needs during the pandemic. In addition to their generous giving to individual nonprofits, over 25 of the Foundation’s donor-advised funds have contributed more than $128,000 to the local COVID-19 relief effort.

In addition to organizational giving, United Way has collected over $100,000 in donations from individuals in the community. Contributions to the fund can be made online here or text COVID19 to 41444.

Interested donors and partners should contact John Eberle at jeberle@cfgcr.org or Peter Gannon at peter@unitedwaygcr.org to learn more about how they can be a part of the regional response. The fund is managed by the Community Foundation as a 100% pass-through fund where all monies raised are distributed to local nonprofit organizations. For more information, including an updated list of partners, please visit Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund.