GREAT FALLS — A private family foundation has donated $50,000 to United Way of Cascade County’s COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund to be given as $500 checks to 100 individuals and families in the community who have been affected by the coronavirus and economic slowdown that followed.
The United Way of Cascade County (UWCC) said that the foundation, which wants to be anonymous, will donate another $50,000 if the community donates a matching amount, which would help a total of 300 households in Cascade County.
The program is called Essential Funds For Essential Needs, and is open to anyone living in Cascade County who can demonstrate direct financial hardship due to the current pandemic-related economic conditions.
There is no income threshold, but applications will be weighted to prioritize families with children under the age of 18, minority households, and essential workers. The UWCC noted that while some government programs limit what assistance money can be spent on, these private dollars can be spent on families’ greatest needs.
- Applications must be dropped off by 4 p.m. on Friday, November 6, at a secure drop-box at Opportunities Inc. (905 1st Avenue North).
- Applications are available at Opportunities Inc, and can also be found on UWCC (click here) and Opportunities Inc.’s websites (click here).
- Anyone with extenuating circumstances who cannot drop off their application can call 406-868-0004.
Opportunities Inc. staff will review all applications before drawing 100 names to be awarded $500. People will be notified if they are to receive the money, which will be given out by December 1.
UWCC president Gary Owen said in a news release, “Many families are struggling, many have seen their paychecks and savings shrink since March. This donation will help 100 families, but we know many more are in need.”
Opportunities Inc. executive director Karla Seaman has seen how COVID-19 has impacted Cascade County families as more people are coming in the nonprofits’ doors looking for help paying for food, rent, and utilities. She said, “Many families, particularly essential workers, are struggling to pay increased costs for food and childcare. Others have lost wages while in quarantine. Rent bills that were temporarily on hold are coming due."
Owen hopes community support will open the doors to hundreds more families being awarded Essential Funds For Essential Needs dollars. The private family foundation is covering all administration costs, so every donated dollar will go to people in need.
Anyone who wants to donate to the Essential Needs For Essential Needs program can go to www.uwccmt.org, or can send donations to United Way at P.O. Box 1343, Great Falls, 59403.