Princeton Area Community Foundation CEO Jeffrey M. Vega.

The Princeton Area Community Foundation has assembled a coalition of funders to create a COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund to help support nonprofits working with the most vulnerable residents in Mercer County and the surrounding region.

The fund has $1 million in contributions to date, including $250,000 each from the Community Foundation, Betty Wold Johnson, and the George H. and Estelle M. Sands Foundation.

“We know that many of our local residents were already dealing with financial hardships before the unprecedented coronavirus crisis hit New Jersey,” said Jeffrey M. Vega, president & CEO of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, which will host the fund. “Each day we are learning about more adverse impact as a result of the outbreak. So, although we have received $1 million in donations to date, we anticipate the continuing needs in our community will be much greater, and we encourage others to join us in this funding effort.”

Founding supporters of the fund also include the Bunbury Fund at the Community Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, the Burke Foundation, and the Fund for Women and Girls at the Community Foundation, and individual donors.

“We are pleased we are able to quickly help our community during this national emergency, when our most vulnerable neighbors are experiencing stress and hardship, with no sense of when the crisis will abate,” said Betsy Sands, a trustee of the Sands Foundation. “I hope that other philanthropists in our community will join us in providing funding for this essential support during these difficult and uncertain times.”

Children, families, and seniors in low-income communities from the region are projected to face the most immediate and long-term struggles because of food and housing insecurity, reduced or lost income, health issues, and childcare needs related to school closures.

“This pandemic is unprecedented, and we must come together as a community to help those most in need,” said Anthony “Skip” Cimino, Board Chair of the Community Foundation. “We expect that the needs in our region will quickly change as this virus spreads, and we’re prepared to respond to them. We are grateful for donations from our founding supporters, and we ask that more private foundations, philanthropists, and corporations join us, as we work together to try to mitigate the damage caused by this virus.”

The fund is designed to be flexible and nimble, so grants can quickly be directed to nonprofit service providers. Some of the funding will be earmarked to help nonprofits during the immediacy of this crisis, while other grants will focus on the long-term recovery in the aftermath.

Community Foundation staff is communicating with government leaders, private foundations, and nonprofit organizations to assess local needs and to coordinate with other funders during this crisis. The grant application process will be announced soon.

The Community Foundation welcomes gifts from individual donors at any time to support neighbors in need. To make a donation to this fund, visit www.pacf.org.

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