Marshall Miles Interviews Julie Scharnberg of Northwest Corner Gives

Here is a summary of what the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation been doing in response to the pandemic, and specifics about the current campaign.

In early March, we established our Northwest Corner Gives COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund which has received, and continues to receive, tremendous community support. 

At the same time, we basically upended all our standard grant rounds to create grant opportunities to assist the nonprofit community navigate the logistical and financial disruptions caused by the pandemic, and assist with the sharp increase in human service needs (housing, food, utilities, etc.). 

Our first rapid response grant round was up and running by mid-March.  Grants were awarded primarily for basic needs, such as rent, food, infant supplies (diapers and formula), utilities (heat, gas), medication, child care, and for urgently needed PPE, cleaning supplies, etc.  We awarded 63 grants totaling $110,470 over six weeks. 

Our current grant round, Northwest Corner Gives (, includes a crowdfunding component which is a brand-new initiative for us.  In May, we awarded 53 grants to a wide variety of nonprofits totaling $586,450.  Support was available for operating expenses, programs that can operate remotely to comply with physical distancing restrictions, technology/equipment needed to facilitate remote work for employees or to serve clients remotely, and other COVID-19 related needs.

The current grant round paid half the approved grant award up front, and provided an exclusive on-line platform for all grantees to crowdfund 25% of their grant award which would then be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation (to a maximum of 25% of their grant award). 

As of today, we are pleased to report that 35 organizations have met (and many have actually exceeded) their crowdfunding goals.  This crowdfunding/match opportunity is open until July 31, and we have 18 organizations with open campaigns. 

Note:  the number of open campaigns may change between now and Wednesday depending on donations received each day.  

Northwest Corner Gives has been a welcome opportunity for the nonprofit community.  Many nonprofits run annual fundraising events starting in the summer, and just about all of them have had to be cancelled resulting in worrisome revenue shortfalls.  In addition, they now have unanticipated expenses:  for example, PPE and extra cleaning supplies, additional equipment to keep clients engaged and to help support remote work.   

The remaining open campaigns include organizations in early childhood education and programming, healthcare, first responders, critical human services, and the environment. 

If anyone would like more information about any of the open campaigns, they can contact me through the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation at 860-626-1245, ext. 113.

Northwest Corner Gives


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