Local nonprofits receive thousands of dollars in COVID-19 response grants

RICHLAND, Wash — Multiple nonprofits in the Tri-Cities received thousands of dollars in COVID-19 response grants from the 3 Rivers Community Foundation Thursday afternoon.

The last round of funds came from Battelle, which manages and operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, who donated $40,000 dollars, a match of that donation by All in WA, and donations from individual donors.

“The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges in our community and nation. Many – including some of our most vulnerable neighbors – have been hard-hit financially, faced new health issues or struggled with isolation, fear, anxiety and stress,” said Steven Ashby, PNNL director and Battelle senior vice president. “Battelle has always been committed to supporting the communities in which we live and we are pleased to provide assistance to help those who are in need of food, shelter and mental health services.”

Grants made possible by these donations include:

$10,000 to Second Harvest to support the increased food insecurity needs during the pandemic. From July 2020 to January 2021, they distributed 5.7million pounds of food, 51% more than the same time a year ago.

$10,000 to Safe Harbor Support Center to support their virtual programs addressing trauma and behavioral intervention programs, family assistance program, 24-hour shelter for teens, case management, and parent education/coaching.

$10,000 to Benton Franklin Community Action Connections to support the Second Chance Center providing microwavable hot meals to homes families who are unable to access other services, are living on the street, or are doubled-up with other families. This program places and emphasis on self-sufficiency for women and stability for children.

Jean Tucker, the philanthropy manager for 2nd Harvest, said the “need for food assistance remains at a very elevated level in the Tri-Cities.”

“It was so exciting to be here today and to see the generous community support that has come together once again,” Tucker said. “We will use these funds to help us source and distribute healthy food that we will get out to people in need through our partner food banks and our mobile market distributions.”

Sara Harpster, the executive director for SHSC, agreed that there has been “an increase in need for services” over the last year.

“We provide services for at-risk youth and homeless teens,” Harpster said. “This support is instrumental for providing shelter for teens in the area and without it, it would be a struggle.”

Rosie Venzor, the administrative executive for BFCAC, said they plan on using the grant money to provide roofs over heads.

“We will provide hot meals, motel vouches and whatever other resources to get them into stable housing,” Venzor said. “Letting them shower, doing their laundry, if they need hygiene kits, anything like that, this funding will help those get off the street temporarily.”

3RCF has previously funded over 80 grants to nonprofits totaling over $153,000 from their COVID-19 Response Fund.

Although the fund is ending, officials said the financial support will continue.

“The COVID-19 Response Fund at 3RCF has truly been a community effort. We started raising funds in April of 2020 and it has been amazing to see individual donors and our business community respond so generously,” says Abbey Cameron, Executive Director of 3RCF. “Battelle especially stepped up in a big way, not only with their donation but matching dollars to double their impact and support food insecurity and mental and behavioral health services caused by the pandemic.”

To donate to 3RCF, click here.