Announcing the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund for Otsego County

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From Otsego County:

Cooperstown, NY – Citizens of Otsego County face an emergency need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To meet the need the Community Foundation of Otsego County has created the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund for Otsego County. Full details and links to multiple online presences of the Fund will be made available at, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21.

Otsego County unemployment is rising, and we are seeing growing numbers of potentially fatal illnesses. The nonprofit service sector of our economy is faced with overwhelming assistance requests, and we are going to help. The Fund will issue grants to qualified service organizations addressing the most urgent needs of county residents. (Once the crisis abates, the Fund will shift to supporting recovery efforts.) Our immediate concern is relief, and we will rely upon existing nonprofit organizations already on the front lines of response. Grant applications are on our website, and grants will be issued to organizations to meet these priorities:

· Support for medical workers, EMTs, police, firefighters, and others in essential occupations who risk their own health to serve the community.

· Prevention measures such as education and sanitary supplies to limit the spread of the virus.

· Support for vulnerable populations, i.e. older adults with compromised immune systems, and people who are unhoused.

· Practical needs, in case of disruption in services to vulnerable populations, such as meal delivery and daily living support for homebound older adults.

· Food access and other practical support for people who have lost wages or are unable to stock up on food, specifically those who fall in the gaps of government-led responses.

· Support for workers, especially low-wage workers, to address lack of access to healthcare and paid sick leave, lack of proper safety equipment, economic impact of lost wages due to quarantines, cancelled activities, and/or reduced hours/layoffs.

· Other emerging, immediate needs.

The Fund has started with a grant of $20,000 from the Community Foundation of Otsego County and a $1 for $1 matching challenge grant of another $30,000 from its board members and volunteers. The Fund is accepting donations now. CFOC is underwriting all the costs of creating and administering the Fund and is not charging any fees, so that 100% of amounts donated will go directly into the community to meet pressing needs.

We are asking for immediate support from individual donors, companies, local foundations, and other organizations. Online gifts have the most immediate impact: . Donations can also be sent to the Community Foundation of Otsego County, P.O. Box 55, Springfield Center, NY 13468. Please send any questions related to donations to . For other general questions, please visit our frequently asked questions (FAQs) on our website, which will first be presented at at 2 p.m. on April 21, 2020. For further detailed information, to add your name as a supporter or endorser, or other in-depth questions, please email: .

We thank local and regional leaders and our board members for their support, and we offer thoughts from a few:

Alicia Dicks, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties “CFOC is a remarkable new organization that is setting itself up to make a real difference in Otsego County. Our organization has helped them get established and we are excited to see the impact that will come as a result.”

Gary Herzig, Vice President of CFOC, Mayor of Oneonta, Former COO Opportunities for Otsego While hard times are not new to many of our Otsego County neighbors, the current challenges they are facing cannot be overcome alone. We are One County – One Community and we will ride this storm out together. The COVID Fund for Otsego County provides us with an effective way to band together. I truly believe that the people of our county will come together in supporting our neighbors in this time of unprecedented need.

David Bliss, Chair, of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, real estate broker, and farmer

“I am impressed that CFOC has fast tracked their organizational model in order to help relieve the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As our community comes together to address critical issues resulting from this health emergency, we at CFOC will do our best to respond to today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges.”

Finally, we thank for its generous assistance in publicizing the Fund.

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