AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Community Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin announced 97 nonprofits will be receiving $1.8 million grant funding, so the organizations help families severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

This is the first rounding funding being released from All Together ATX. The donation-driven initiative began on March 27.

In the news released, Austin Community Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin said:

This first round of rapid response funding will go towards projects addressing critical services, including food insecurity, basic needs, medical needs, employment and child care. The grants range in size from $50,000 to $3,000. The application review process was led by a committee of 70 community volunteers, managed by staff at United Way and Austin Community Foundation. Grants will be distributed electronically by May 1.

“We launched at a time when we realized this crisis was going to hit our community in ways we couldn’t have imagined even one, two, three weeks prior,” said Meagan Longley, Vice President of Community Impact at Austin Community Foundation.

Longley told KXAN a typical grand review process can take months.

“I would say that typically philanthropy is not known for speed, so it’s definitely an outlier in terms of how quickly we were able to pull things together,” she explained. “But what we know right now is that just sitting on community money was not going to be acceptable to our community, and it wasn’t going to be acceptable to us.”

They received nearly 300 applications for the Phase 1 funding.

  • You can see the full list of nonprofits receiving funding here.

Longley added, “In my career, the crises that I’ve been able to respond to philanthropically have been isolated by geography and time, and this is a crisis that we’re all experiencing and we really don’t know the duration of it.”

Manos De Cristo is one of the 97 groups receiving funding.

“We were very excited because we’ve seen such a huge increase in people coming to our food pantry,” said Julie Ballesteros, the nonprofit’s Executive Director.

Manos De Cristo has a dental clinic and a food pantry. Ballesteros said while the clinic is seeing patients only if it’s an emergency, the pantry is open to families in need.

“We’re serving triple the number of people that we normally serve,” she said. “There are a lot of things that we’re not able to get from Central Texas Food Bank, and so we’re having to go to the grocery store and purchase those things ourselves. Things like cereal and things that we just take for granted that have become luxuries.”

Ballesteros said most of their clients work in the service industry, so their paychecks have stopped completely.

“Their hopelessness is what I see in their faces,” she said.

Any Baby Can, another recipient of the first phase funding, is also seeing an increase in need.

“There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty,” said Veronda Durden, President and CEO of Any Baby Can in Austin.

The nonprofit served about 3,200 clients last year. Durden told KXAN the All Together ATX funding will allow them to serve 100 more people and help them with their basic needs.

“Food, rent, utilities, dollars for diapers, formula,” she said. “Not just today, but two, three or four months from now. As people get back out into the community, they’re going to have needs as they try to go back to work, as they try to find childcare for their children, so we just want to be better prepared to meet the needs of the clients that we serve.”

She said challenges nonprofits face during times like this is having to turn away clients.

“We don’t want to be in a position to have to do that,” Durden explained.

Ballesteros said, “More than anything, [this funding] alleviates the stress of funding all these additional people that we obviously had not budgeted for.”

All Together ATX has raised about $5 million so far. They said they “plan to disburse all funds raised for All Together ATX by the end of 2020.”

Applications for round two of funding will open this summer, with proposals due in late July.

Austin Community Foundation said if you need help paying your bills or paying for food, call 211 to learn more about the resources available.