New community fund to address urgent local needs in response to COVID-19 pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a coalition of charitable organizations, businesses and governments has joined to respond to needs in the Kansas City area.

Named the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, the new effort will address the highest community needs, focusing on urgent health and human service needs, according to a spokesman.

Coordinating organizations include the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, United Way of Greater Kansas City, LISC Greater Kansas City (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) and MARC (Mid-America Regional Council).

The new fund has set an initial goal of $10 million, and has a challenge grant of $5 million, according to a spokesman. The Hall Family Foundation and the Sunderland Foundation have partnered on a challenge grant to match donations to the fund up to $5 million.

Debbie Wilkerson, president and CEO with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, said Wyandotte County will be represented in the 15-member advisory committee making grant decisions. She said the new organization is seeking donations as well as seeking community agencies that want to participate.

She said there are needs in all parts of the region, and the fund is designed to support vulnerable communities.

“We are encouraging donors at every level to participate in this fund and take advantage of the match,” Wilkerson said.

At this time, the new organization is not sure of the amount of money that will be needed. She said the effect probably will be far greater than any one sector, philanthropy or government, can handle.

“We are working to build a cohesive and collaborative group with the philanthropy sector so we can all do our part,” she said.

The fund will support relief efforts in the Greater Kansas City area, including Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri; and Johnson, Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Miami counties in Kansas. Grants will be made to 501(c)(3) public charities and public organizations.

The fund expects to deploy an initial round of grants as soon as possible to support operations and services with a focus on critical needs, including, but not limited to 1) Housing support (rent, mortgage, utilities), 2) Food insecurity, 3) Access to health care, and 4) Other critical human services. It will support charitable organizations to both maintain their operations and services and increase their capacity to serve those impacted by COVID-19, including addressing the economic impacts on individuals and their families due to job interruption and reduction in income and benefits.

The fund may expand its scope at a later time.

Founding Funders include: Black and Veatch, Bukaty Companies, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, George K. Baum Family Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, H & R Block Foundation, Hall Family Foundation, Health Forward Foundation, J.E. Dunn Construction, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Southern, Mallouk Family Foundation, Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, Mazuma Credit Union, Menorah Heritage Foundation, Mike and Linda Lyon, Patterson Family Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation, Richard and Annette Bloch Family Foundation, Sherman Family Foundation, Sosland Foundation of Kansas City, Stanley H. Durwood Foundation, Sunderland Foundation, UMB Bank, United Way of Greater Kansas City, and William T. Kemper Foundation.

Institutional funders who want to participate may contact Denise St. Omer, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, at

Individuals who want to donate may visit

Nonprofits in need may contact

Individuals in need may contact United Way 211 by dialing 211 to reach trained, caring professionals seven days a week, 24 hours a day, or visit

For more information, visit the website:

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