Success Stories: COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grants

First Round of Grants Awarded in June 2020

Apply now for second round of nonprofit grant applications through Sept. 9

Demand for the first round of COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant program was high. We received 40 applications, with requests amounting to $634,632. The program was able to provide 24 large and small nonprofits with grants to support services ranging from help for families and youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness and food insecurity to mental health and youth programs and scholarships. Below is a list of grantees for the COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant program.

  • Archway Housing & Services, Inc.: $ 15,000
  • CASA of Jefferson and Gilpin Counties: $ 15,000
  • Concordia Lutheran Church, for Foothills Foodies food distribution: $ 15,000
  • Court Support Jeffco: $ 5,000
  • Eaton Senior Communities Foundation: $ 20,800
  • Edgewater Collective: $ 10,000
  • Family Promise of Greater Denver: $ 12,000
  • Family Tree: $ 4,500
  • Gold Crown Foundation: $ 30,000
  • Jeffco Eats: $ 30,000
  • Jefferson Center for Mental Health: $ 19,790
  • JUUST Living, Inc.: $ 5,000
  • Kiwanis Club of Alameda West Foundation: $ 14,500
  • Kiwanis Club of Belmar Foundation: $ 14,988
  • Mean Street Ministries: $ 25,000
  • River Church Shepherd's Pantry Food Bank: $ 19,500
  • Severe Weather Network: $ 24,000
  • South Jeffco Rotary Club: $ 6,482
  • Sprout City Farms: $ 3,560
  • The Action Center: $ 50,000
  • The Chanda Plan Foundation: $ 3,880
  • The Golden Backpack Program: $ 5,000
  • The Zara Project: $ 25,000
  • Westgate Elementary: $ 1,000

TOTAL GRANT AMOUNT: $ 375,000.00

Older adults protected

Eaton-logo.jpg Eaton Senior Communities serves low-income, at-risk seniors in Lakewood by providing affordable housing, plus additional services. In the early days of the pandemic ESC had challenges with getting personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly face masks. While we were able to get a supply for immediate needs, we realized quickly the pandemic would be with us for some time.  

Because of this $20,800 grant, we were able to buy the additional face masks, face shields and sanitizing solutions needed for our community. Additionally, we were able to expand on our infectious control protocol by purchasing temperature reading stations for our entryways to ensure staff, vendors, and residents alike are constantly monitoring their signs and symptoms to prevent the spread of infection. 

The monetary support from the grant was invaluable, empowering us to take care of immediate needs and to plan for the future, and our residents have been better served because of it. We managed to have no confirmed cases from March until the end of July, and much of that is due to following guidelines set forth by the governor and the public health department and the access to PPE. Without the City of Lakewood grant, Eaton would have had a much greater challenge in accessing PPE and being able to afford it.

The grant enabled Eaton to have a comfortable level of PPE and to be able to continue to provide our residents a nutritious meal, delivered with no contact to their doors.Eaton-bags.jpg

Family members of Eaton residents have also felt reassured. “It is so comforting to me to know that you all are dedicated to infection control protocols while also caring for your residents’ well-being. Specifically, the dining program is a blessing. It takes such a huge load off me and relieves that burden of feeding my loved one, now even more so than ever since I limit close contact with my mom in order to lessen her exposure to COVID at 90 years old,” one family member told ESC. “It’s no small feat ESC has been infection-free from February/March up through July. That has to be attributed to the actions and protocols established by ESC management, as well as thanks to residents who are taking the precautions and orders seriously.”

While ESC has had to limit the housekeeping and maintenance services for residents, the PPE purchased with grant funds enables those staff members to continue to provide laundry and trash pickup services (with no-contact) and to sterilize the buildings several times a day. All of these supports have been necessary to keep our residents safe and to minimize exposure for both staff and residents.

“It's time to stop and take stock of life these days. [Eaton’s CEO] and all of admin are working hard to keep us safe and cared for during this 'nightmare of 2020.’ Regardless of how our lives have been turned upside down, we need to be so grateful for all Eaton is doing to keep us well,” one resident said. “Our stats are miraculous compared to other senior communities across the nation. We all owe them a huge level of gratitude and never-ending thanks for all they are doing FOR US.”

Our staff and our residents feel safer knowing that we have the funds needed to continue to purchase the PPE equipment that is now being used every day in our facility. We would not have been able to purchase face masks, temperature stations, and sanitizing solutions at the quantity necessary to provide a robust infectious control protocol without the generosity of the COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant Program. Eaton staff and residents are very appreciative and grateful that the City of Lakewood has demonstrated such support of our community.

The power of one

The case managers and coordinators for Court Support Jeffco strive to keep the clients working and to assist them in gathering the right equipment and tools to work and support their families. Court Support Jeffco is extremely grateful to receive the $5,000 grant from Lakewood to help support those involved in treatment courts.

One of our fathers was out of work and unable to pay his child support or support his current family. The case manager referred him to the company WANCO, which builds the lighted orange highway signs. He was hired for the job. But one of the barriers he faced was not being able to see distances as he had lost his glasses and needed them for the job. Court Support Jeffco was able to purchase two pairs of eyeglasses for him, and he is now able to provide support to both of his families. 

Lakewood Municipal Veteran’s Court and Lakewood’s Early Action Program (LEAP) are part of Court Support Jeffco. The Veteran’s Court helps veterans facing municipal charges get back on track, and LEAP serves as a mental health court to address juveniles who are charged with misdemeanor offenses likely due to their mental health diagnosis. The Lakewood courts have been able to purchase gift card incentives, and these cards are used in court hearings to reward clients who are compliant with what the court is requiring of them and to keep clients on track and motivated to continue with their successes. Since implementing the incentive program, there has been an increase in compliance. 

In addition, the funds have been used to get clients to and from treatment, pay for treatment costs, and assist with groceries and housing shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic. One veteran involved in Lakewood Veteran’s Court was brought to tears over assistance given to repair his vehicle, which he needed to get him to and from his new job. The support from this grant will continue to aid many clients and families who face challenges such as homelessness and mental health disorders as they persevere through the added stress of this pandemic.

Grocery deliveries keep the most vulnerable safe

Family-Tree-Logo.jpg Family Tree quickly realized that many of the Lakewood households who would be served with this funding were also at great risk of contracting COVID-19. This $4,500 from the grant has allowed us to be creative and serve people in the safest ways possible. We have established an account with Walmart, and households in need of groceries can have them delivered directly to their doors with contactless delivery. These deliveries allow for our most vulnerable populations to remain as safe as possible while meeting their basic needs. In addition, we have ordered bus tickets for Lakewood residents in need of transportation. We have also been able to partner closely with other Family Tree programs such as our Domestic Violence Outreach Program to reach as many eligible Lakewood households as possible. We are grateful to have this support to extend to our community.

Sports organization feeds families

Gold-Crown-logo.jpg The Gold Crown Foundation has been able to help hundreds of families with assistance from Lakewood’s $30,000 COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant. We were able to purchase gift cards to King Soopers and have been distributing them to the low-income families that we serve. These gift cards helped families provide food during the economic shutdown and the slow reopening of the economy. We worked with schools in the area to identify low-income families who were greatly impacted by the pandemic, and we also connected with our Clubhouse members to help their families with grocery bills. 

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We would not have been able to help as many families as we have if not for the generosity from the City of Lakewood. Without the assistance, we would not have been able to support these families throughout June and July and would not be able to continue that support into August. We had several families come each week to pick up gift cards and were overwhelmed by the support from the Gold Crown Foundation and the City of Lakewood. 

In addition to the grocery gift cards, we have been able to enhance our sanitation efforts, which has allowed us to operate some basketball, volleyball and golf programming this summer. Several of our programs have sold out because parents and kids want to get back to extracurricular activities. We have increased our sanitation efforts so that every participant who enters the building is in a safe, clean environment. We have added hand sanitizer stations and have mandatory temperature checks at the door so nobody is at an increased risk of catching the new coronavirus. Without the help from this grant, we would not have been able to add certain cleaning measures and would not have been able to operate summer programs.

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Paying students’ lunch debt

We, the Kiwanis Club of Belmar Foundation, are very excited to announce that as a result of a $14,988 grant from the City of Lakewood COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant, the outstanding lunch debt has been eliminated for students and their families at Deane, Emory, Lasley and Rose Stein elementary schools and Alameda International Junior/Senior High School. This contribution continues our foundation’s work of previously paying off the debt at Patterson International Elementary School.

Kiwanis-Club-of-Belmar-presents-check.jpg “What an amazing gift for the Alameda area! This will definitely be a weight lifted from our families’ shoulders,” wrote Deane Principal Megan Martinez. “We are grateful to be included. Thank you for all that you do!” 

Given the additional stress posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt the city’s grant program was a great opportunity to expand this relief to other families in our articulation area that has a higher level of lower-income families who have been significantly affected by the pandemic.

“This is great news! Thank you so much. Our families will appreciate this greatly,” Lasley Principal Audrey Guerrero wrote to the foundation.

Working with Cari Roberts, business analyst with the Jeffco Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services, the foundation obtained the balances for each school to determine the amount of our grant request. While the exact number of affected families was not available, it is estimated that there were several hundred.

“Thank you. This is wonderful. It is a wonderful thing to have happened, and a wonderful thing to highlight, in this time,” said Angela Baber, executive director of Jeffco Schools Foundation. 

Because multiple schools were involved, one check from the Kiwanis Club of Belmar Foundation was delivered to eliminate each school’s outstanding balances. On July 9, Jane Braithwaite, Steve Otto and Shirley Otto as representatives of the Kiwanis Club of Belmar met with Cari, Beth Wallace, executive director of Jeffco Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services, and Tamara Hastings to deliver the “big check.” 

"This is wonderful news for the Alameda community,” said Erika Edwards, director of operations for Jeffco Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services.

Keeping the food flowing

To be completely transparent, without the blessing of the City of Lakewood’s COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant of $19,500, the ability of Shepherd’s Pantry operated from River Church to serve those in need who come to the foodbank would have been severely affected, and we could have possibly had to close our doors temporarily.

Shepherd’s Pantry relies on the Post Office’s food drive in May for its supplies, and due to COVID-19 that was canceled. We normally receive 10-14 tons of food each May and use that throughout the year. And with the Foodbank of the Rockies limiting its services to only larger agencies at first, that avenue of food was also not at our disposal.Additionally, we didn’t have funds to purchase food from the Foodbank of the Rockies once it reopened distribution to smaller agencies like ours. Your grant coincided with the reopening and provided the funds necessary to purchase that food.

So this grant literally saved our humble little foodbank and was directly responsible for not only providing meals to more than 45 families each month since, but it also gave us a surplus that enabled us to provide 20 family boxes of food to a local elementary school’s foodbank. In addition, once school attendance is set for Rose Stein Elementary School, we will be providing school supplies and backpacks to some of the students there.

And once we are able to start serving our guests inside the building (we are currently providing a drive-thru foodbank), we will be able to provide even more breakfasts to our guests.

Before we received the grant, we had been talking to our guests (as we call those who visit our foodbank) who were worried about getting food. We told them that we would continue to provide whatever we could, but we weren’t sure how much we’d be able to give them each month. They understood and appreciated even the little we could give at the time. When we announced the grant, and what it would do for our guests, they were elated. And thankful. Many wanted to express their gratitude to the city. And it was also a relief to many that it was one less thing for them to worry about.

When the director of our foodbank learned of the grant, he got a little teary eyed. It was a removal of at least part of the stress caused by our current situation in dealing with all things COVID these days. Our volunteers were also elated.

So thank you again for the COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant. It was an incredible blessing to our guests, our foodbank, and our volunteers, for now and for the future until we can get back to our normal foodbank activities.

Food and housing services expanded

Archway-logo_1.png With the assistance that the City of Lakewood has provided, Archway Housing and Services has been able to purchase food from Food Bank of the Rockies at three of our Lakewood properties. Our coordinators normally host a food bank twice a week, but now we are able to expand these services. 

Once a month our coordinators host a larger food bank with all of the food items that we have purchased. Residents have received meats, vegetables, grains, and dairy items. This is an incredibly valuable service to our residents. Some residents have expressed that without this food assistance they and their families would go hungry. Additionally, families are able to save close to $200 a month in food costs, which allows them to save their money for other needs. 

In these next few months, we will be using the $15,000 in grant funding to provide rental assistance and to purchase personal protective equipment for our Lakewood residents. Our goal is to ensure that all of our Lakewood residents remain safe and healthy during these trying times, and this helps us fulfill the mission of Archway Housing & Services to offer quality affordable housing with services that enhance the social and economic well-being of families.

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Important care continued for those with disabilities

Chanda-logo.jpg The Chanda Plan Foundation extends its gratitude for the generous COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grant it received from the City of Lakewood. This $3,880 grant provided funding for essential personal protection and other COVID-19 protective measures that enable the Chanda Center for Health to reopen its doors to provide essential integrative health care services for its participants with long-term physical disabilities while ensuring their safety. Given the revenue losses the organization sustained due to COVID-19, purchasing these items, while absolutely necessary to keep participants safe and comply with CDC guidelines, would have put undue strain on the organization. Thanks to this grant, the organization was able to make the following purchases:

  • 500 disposable medical-grade masks for staff and providers.
  • A three-month supply of gloves for providers to use and dispose of after each treatment.
  • Thermometers to check all staff, providers, and participants upon entering the Health Center.
  • Plexiglass shield for the front desk. 
  • Professional cleaners to provide a deep clean daily for several months.

Chanda-staff.png Being able to reopen the Health Center to offer vital integrative therapies such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care on which participants have come to rely while ensuring their safety has provided demonstrable relief to them.

“Being stuck at home has increased my level of isolation exponentially and been incredibly detrimental to my mental health, so to have the Health Center open again, I’m already feeling happier and less stressed,” one participant said.

More evidence of the impact of the grant can be seen in the photos of smiling participants (they are smiling under their masks!) and “geared-up” staff and providers.

“I felt trapped at home and that not receiving my services was increasing my vulnerability to catch and suffer from COVID-19. Returning to services makes me feel like my body is less susceptible, and I have a better chance of fighting off any illness,” another participant reported.

Foothills Foodies provide relief

On March 13, 2020, we rolled out a model of how we could best serve families in the Green Mountain community with supplemental food to see them through the beginning stages of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

Our collaborative consisted of Josh Shapiro, principle of Foothills Elementary School; Reg Cox of Lakewood Connects; Gregg McCaslin, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church; Patrick Moore, youth pastor at Concordia Lutheran Church; and me, Bernadette Marquez, family engagement liaison and coordinator of the HUB@Foothills Foodies.

Together we made a plan and that is how we launched the Foothills Foodies Covid-19 Relief Food Distribution Program.

I collaborated with the Jeffco Public Schools Food and Nutrition Office to distribute food bags alongside the school district during its grab-and-go breakfast and lunch distribution at Dunstan Middle School.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we worked arm in arm to ensure that families were fed. The Food and Nutrition team provided breakfast and lunch per child in each household, and I provided a bag of food that consisted of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and hygiene items per carload at the drive-up grab-and-go site.

Through our partnership with Concordia Lutheran Church, we were able to collect physical food donations, and we were able to team up and qualify for the very generous $15,000 grant that the City of Lakewood provided us. With that, we were able to serve up to 125 families per week with more than enough food and hygiene items to see them through.  Families now had the extra items they would need to prepare meals throughout the week and received the following hygiene items: toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, deodorant, body wash, and of course the coveted rolls of toilet paper.

It was a very humbling experience to see the gratitude on the faces of the families that benefited from the items we provided them. Every single day I had the pleasure of being thanked and told by many of the families that our food program made such a big difference in their lives. For some of them, it was a matter of deciding whether to purchase gas or pay a bill that was due. With the provision of extra food and hygiene items, many of them did not have to pick and choose, and they could pay for the things they needed beyond food because they knew that they would be able to feed their families through having access to this food.

I provided all the families that I was serving on a weekly basis with a survey asking them how our food program has supported them during these uncertain times. Here are a few responses: 

  • “My husband’s income was slashed. I have two teen boys who eat nonstop. This food has helped us keep them from going hungry.”
  • “The HUB made it possible for us to make ends meet with extra food help.”
  • “We really appreciate the help. My daughter looks forward to the provided meals.”

I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the funds to serve so many families over the course of the last 5 ½ months. Overall, the families have blessed me more than I could have ever blessed them. Being able to form bonds with them during this time of social distancing has enriched my life so very much more because I was able to interact with and build community with everyone I encountered thus far. I am in the process of launching the next phase of the food/hygiene distribution back on the Foothills Elementary School campus with the new and uncertain school startup plan. As of Aug. 24, we will be providing meals by appointments to ensure best and safe practices. We are ready and well stocked to kick-start the school year by feeding families throughout the Green Mountain community!