Fort Wayne set to distribute nearly $400K to 7 nonprofits for COVID-19 relief

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The City of Fort Wayne will distribute nearly $400,000 to nonprofit organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During these troubling times, it’s common to hear about the hardships of the restaurant, entertainment and retail industries, but what about the nonprofits?

Monday, the city announced that $398,000 will go to seven nonprofit organizations to who applied for the grant back in November. The organizations were selected based on the need and availability of of the funds.

Those organizations are :

  • Wellspring
  • Amani Family Services
  • YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne
  • Healthier Moms & Babies
  • The League for the Blind & Disabled
  • Health Visions Midwest
  • Community Transportation Network

“I know we give a lot of recognition to our front-line workers, which is justified,” said Kelly Lundberg, Director of Fort Wayne’s office of Housing and Services. “But equally important is recognizing a front-line non-profit worker.”

WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee spoke with three of the seven of the organizations to find out how they plan on using the grant money.

Amani Family Services will receive a little more than a $100,000 dollars to provide services to nearly 300 immigrant and refugee families. The government funding will support mental health therapy, language interpretation, and the organization’s outreach activities with first responders. According to its CEO, there has been a spike in demand for mental services during the pandemic.

“The pandemic is everyone’s business, so immigrants and refugees like everybody else has to access resources and hopefully together we can overcome this,” said Irene Paxia.

YMCA of greater Fort Wayne will receive the highest amount, which is around $122,000. This will fund its childcare services. The YMCA’s executive director for childcare services said to strengthen the foundation of the community is through the youth.

“We have over 40 before and after school programs and when you think of impact of youth development, it’s really a great opportunity to try and impact the next generation,” said Nicole Saunders. “So, grant funds such as this helps us do that help us do that, to give kids an environment where they feel like they belong them feel like they belong and have a sense of achievement.”

When it comes to Healthier Moms & Babies, the funding will be used for its home visiting program that deals with high-risk pregnant women. Like other nonprofits, their funding took a major hit due to not having a fundraiser

“It’s been really challenging, we had to cancel two of our major fundraiser events, which really helps support our home visiting program. Trying to recreate the dollars lost from that, the funding from the city is allowing us to get back some of those lost dollars and is still allowing us to provide our level of service at the current level we are,” said Paige Wilkins, executive director of Healthier Moms & Babies.

The City’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood services received the grant from a special Community Development block grant.

  • Wellspring will receive $48,569 for the expansion of Food Bank and Wellspring on Wheels. The program will serve an estimated 29,500 people through distributions due to the increased need of food assistance as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Amani Family Services will receive $106,811 to aid in immigrant/refugee COVID-19 Relief. The program will help an estimated 300 people by hiring a new case manager to provide services to our immigrant population.
  • YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne will receive $122,000 to aid in childcare relief. The program is expected to serve more than 700 children in an effort to provide daycare when schools are closed or remote learning is implemented.
  • Healthier Moms & Babies will receive $41,085 for the Prenatal Home Visitation Program. Roughly 150 families will be served through an extension of the program which will help families that have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • The League for the Blind & Disabled will receive $20,000 for the Community Living Program. This is expected to help 60 individuals transition from nursing homes back into the community, or diverts them from being placed in one at all. 
  • Health Visions Midwest will receive $25,000 for the Community Outreach & Virtual Programs. The coordinator of this pilot program will connect underserved populations with health services.
  • Community Transportation Network will receive $25,000 to expand the specialized transportation program in an effort to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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