The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga announced on Thursday that its joint fund had raised over $500,000 for its Tornado Relief Fund and has already awarded more than $300,000 in grants to organizations working to provide critical relief to the individuals and families impacted by the Easter tornado disaster.
The Tornado Relief Fund is a joint effort launched by the United Way of Greater Chattanooga and the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga supported by the generosity of individual donors and a cross-sector coalition of partners—including catalyst commitments from Peyton and Ashley Manning and John V.
and Lynda J. Stevens, Jr. Those partners also include Benwood Foundation, the Howard Fund, Maclellan Foundation, McKenzie Foundation, Chattanooga Gas Company, Cigna Foundation, Lodge Cast Iron, Mapco Express, SpinCar, Tito’s Vodka, Unum, and the Regions Foundation — a nonprofit initiative of Regions Bank.
"Once again, our community has opened its heart and arms to those hit hardest in the wake of an unexpected tragedy,” said Maeghan Jones, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. “Chattanooga, above all of the other many qualities that make it a great place to call home, is remarkable because of its incredible capacity for generosity and compassion.”
"Community resilience is built through going above-and-beyond to support one another in times of crisis and disaster,” said Lesley Scearce, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Chattanooga. “We are so grateful for how all sectors across our community have been generously looking for ways to support and innovate for those in need despite an already challenging time."
The Fund supports nonprofits providing immediate vital services to individuals and families impacted by the disaster. The Fund’s grantmaking is informed by a community-led task force assembled from community leaders, relief and non-profit organizations, and local elected officials with the aim of understanding the most pressing needs on the ground. This Fund will help free nonprofits up to concentrate on delivering vital services while connecting generosity with need as our community sets out to rebuild and recover.
The Fund has approved its first round of grants, with over $300,000 committed to four critical providers, which include the following grantees:
• The American Red Cross to increase capacity for direct financial assistance to individuals and families that were most impacted by the disaster; the organization has already provided over $50,000 in local direct assistance.
• Hamilton County Schools to provide assistance to ensure children and families that were impacted by the Easter tornado have access to the support they need, including over 300 families with school-aged children.
• The Salvation Army to support case workers and direct assistance to individuals and families, including a long-term recovery team and financial allocations to support housing assistance.
• YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga to support costs associated with providing emergency shelter for those whose homes were unsafe during the tornado; over 150 families or individuals utilized the YMCA as their immediate shelter as they worked to secure hotels and temporary housing.
Additional grants will be made in the coming weeks to best support those individuals and families recovering from the disaster. The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and United Way of Greater Chattanooga are hopeful that additional organizations and individuals that are moved to assist those in need will join this coordinated relief effort—particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic creates additional difficulties in providing support to those most affected by the tornado.
Additional information about the fund and information on how to get involved are available through both the Community Foundation and United Way’s websites at https://cfgc.org/tornado-relief-fund/ and https://unitedwaycha.org/tornadorelief/.