United Way of Greater Chattanooga has been selected as the grant administrator of the Tennessee Community CARES Program for the Southeastern Tennessee region, including Franklin, Marion, Hamilton, Bradley, Polk, Grundy, Sequatchie, Blesdoe, Rhea, Meigs and McMinn counties.
The Tennessee Community CARES Program provides financial assistance to nonprofits who worked or are working in any COVID-19 response capacity. The goal of the program is to provide funding to nonprofits to allow them to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 -- specifically to be able to reach individuals that have lost wages and need financial, medical, housing or food assistance and to aid organizations in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 through providing access to supplies. Registered 501(c)3 organizations that can prove incurred or projected expenses due to responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency are eligible to apply for grant funding. The expenses incurred or projected must fit within the time frame beginning March 2020 and ending November 2020.
As the Tennessee Community CARES Program grant administrator for Southeastern Tennessee, the United Way of Greater Chattanooga will serve the region in a number of ways, including outreach, marketing and reporting of funds. While nonprofits wishing to apply will do so through the Department of Human Services, a team at United Way will also receive the grant applications, approve them and monitor spending of approved programs. Funding will be distributed by the State based on the merit of the application.
"With a long history of serving the region as a resource guide and conduit for connection, United Way of Greater Chattanooga is uniquely equipped to fill the role of grant administrator," officials said.
“One of the best ways we can serve our community well in times of uncertainty is to serve our nonprofit sector well -- our local nonprofits are the ones with the boots on the ground,” says Lesley Scearce, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Chattanooga. “All of us have had to pivot in some way to respond to the COVID crisis. But the organizations that are eligible to apply for this funding have pivoted in crucial ways, from standing up entirely new crisis response funds to implementing new social work and feeding programs. Their work has not been without sacrifice, and these grants will allow them to recover from standing in the financial gap left by this crisis. I’m thrilled that United Way of Greater Chattanooga has the opportunity to serve as a grant administrator for this fund as this role embodies what we do best: unite people and resources in order to build a stronger, healthier community.”
In addition, Venture Forward -- an arm of United Way of Greater Chattanooga focused on nonprofit advancement and social innovation -- will offer various technical assistance training to help every applicant be as prepared as possible to submit their application for funding. More information on Venture Forward’s training sessions and offerings around the Community CARES Program can be found at www.ventureforwardnow.org/tncommunitycares.
“The mission of Venture Forward is to serve the nonprofit community by increasing their capacity and innovation capabilities,” says Abby Garrison, United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s vice president of Venture Forward. “This grant will reimburse the organizations who stepped up in exactly those ways during this public health crisis. We’re excited to inform and equip nonprofits to pursue this opportunity, which will give them the financial flexibility they need to continue serving our neighbors amidst this new normal.”
More information on the Tennessee Community CARES Program can be found at www.tn.gov/ humanservices/tennessee-community-cares-program and nonprofits can apply through the DHS website at https://tncaresact.tn.gov/nfp-application. Grant applications opened Aug. 1 and will close Aug. 15, with grant applications to be reviewed and awards to be administered thereafter. If all funds are not distributed after the first application period, a second window will open with information forthcoming.