Roles your FAC can play in the pandemic

K.C. Belitz | Chief Operating Officer

On any given day, Fund Advisory Committees play a variety of roles in their communities. Today, in the face of a global pandemic, those functions are critically important to community wellbeing.

Every day we hear new and inspiring stories of FACs answering the call to serve their neighbors and hometowns in a variety of ways. Below are just a few examples of the roles your Fund Advisory Committee can play in these unprecedented times.

Convener and Connector
For years, NCF has been talking about the importance of building relationships before you need them. Now is the time to utilize those relationships to the fullest and make important connections that your FAC is uniquely positioned to make.

Recently Stuart Community Foundation Fund convened its members and representatives from the school, healthcare clinic, assisted living and long-term care facility, churches, childcare facilities, volunteer fire department, village, and business community via Zoom to discuss current and anticipated community needs. The virtual meeting set important groundwork for next phase discussions and will ultimately help the FAC make decisions about future actions and grantmaking priorities.

Norfolk Area Community Foundation Fund has long been looked to as a leader in its community. The FAC’s decision to suspend its current granting cycle and pivot all funding to organizations and entities addressing or impacted by coronavirus is serving as an example to others. Importantly, formal grant applications will not be required, allowing those in need to focus their energy on more pressing matters.

Information and Resource Hub
NCF affiliated funds often serve as information and resource hubs for their respective communities. Holt County Economic Development, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation, has been diligent about staying apprised of the most up-to-date information and is continuously disseminating information to its stakeholders—specifically small businesses—via social media.

Grantmaking is another effective way FACs can respond to COVID-19. Imperial Community Foundation Fund has purchased webcams for Imperial Manor, the local assisted living facility. This new technology will empower residents, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, to stay connected with their families and loved ones.

Friend Area Fund recognized the difficult road ahead for Friend Public Schools as they transitioned to virtual learning. Members contacted the local superintendent and principal about what the school needed most urgently—providing breakfast and lunch to students quickly emerged as a top priority. Thankfully, FAF is positioned to provide the necessary funding to keep students fed and ready to learn.

Curious about the kinds of grants your affiliated fund can make in response to COVID-19? Read this article.

Two NCF affiliated funds have already started COVID-19 Response Accounts—Legacy Fund for Seward County and McCook Community Foundation Fund. Both are in the fundraising phase but will soon be making grants to local governmental and 501(c)(3) entities working to address the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the community, region, and vulnerable community members.

The McCook Community Foundation Fund Advisory Committee approved $25,000 of payout from its unrestricted endowment to establish the account. MNB Financial Services, Inc. offered a $50,000 donation to the account to be matched $1 to $1 with a grant from the Graff Charitable Foundation, Inc. With $125,000 already in the account, MCFF has just begun asking for community contributions.

Cheerleader and Champion
Affiliated funds can be a powerful source of positivity, community spirit, and good news . . . just make sure your tone is sensitive to the way people are feeling.

Bennet Area Community Foundation Fund created a community Panther Paw Hunt—a fun activity for community members to enjoy from the safety of their vehicles or while on a walk.

Nebraska City Community Foundation Fund is bringing the community together (at a safe distance!) to thank medical providers, community leaders, and service people. Every day at 7:00 PM they are asking neighbors to step outside their front door or drive down Central Avenue honking, waving, and clapping to demonstrate community pride and gratitude.

Call to Action:

  • Has your FAC already sprung into action? If so, how is your community responding to COVID-19? What role is your Fund Advisory Committee playing?
  • Not sure where to start? One of the most impactful things your Fund Advisory Committee can do is simply reach out to other organizations and ask, “How can we help?”
  • Then let us know how Nebraska Community Foundation can support you. We want to hear from you!

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