ATLANTA – March 26, 2020 – Last week, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta announced the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to direct funding to nonprofit organizations and other agencies on the front lines helping our region weather this unprecedented health crisis.

 Today, the organizations reveal the Fund’s first grants, totaling $1.5 million to three organizations for emergency response. Grant recipients are: 

 Atlanta Community Food Bank supports a network of almost 700 nonprofit feeding programs in 29 counties in metro Atlanta and north Georgia, and distributes more than 70 million pounds of food and grocery products each year. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, more than 785,000 people in our community were food insecure, and that number is expected to rise as individuals and families face financial hardships. This grant will support the purchase of food to respond to increased need and reduced donations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Open Hand Atlanta provides prepared meals and nutrition services for homebound seniors and individuals with critical/chronic illnesses, an audience that is particularly susceptible to COVID-19. Eighty percent of the people Open Hand serves are over the age of 47. The grant will assist general capacity and increased production of frozen meals and shelf-stable boxed items, and increased delivery to seniors who previously obtained their meals at senior centers that are now temporarily closed.

YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta provides early education for more than 7,000 children annually at more than 40 centers, partnership sites and afterschool programs across metro Atlanta and northeast Georgia. As most early learning and afterschool programs closed in response to the crisis, the YMCA designed a program to serve children ages 3 to 12 of frontline hospital staff and regional essential employees (law enforcement, fire fighters, grocery store workers, etc.) who must continue working. The grant will support the cost of providing childcare for up to 2,000 children throughout their service area.  

Grants from the Fund focus on immediate and critical needs to support those most vulnerable. United Way and Community Foundation staff, with the guidance of a volunteer steering committee comprised of leading individuals from civic, corporate and nonprofit sectors across the region, are identifying additional organizations currently providing or receiving requests for support. This includes working closely with the State of Georgia’s Coronavirus Task Force Committee for Homeless and Displaced Persons, and other state and federal supports that are to be issued in the coming days and weeks.

Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of this crisis, making it possible to deploy resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases. United Way will administer grants from the Fund. Community Foundation and United Way will announce the process for nonprofits to share their information and needs no later than April 6. The Community Foundation will also announce a grant process specifically for arts organizations in that same timeframe.

 “We have streamlined our funding process to ensure that money available through this Fund flows to nonprofit organizations swiftly and efficiently,” said Lita Pardi, interim vice president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “We recognize that each day brings new hardships for our first responders and our most vulnerable residents, and we lift up the valiant efforts of organizations that have been nimble to respond to those critical needs.”

The fund was announced March 17 with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta committing $1 million and United Way of Greater Atlanta contributing $500,000 to seed the fund. In the days following, the Coca-Cola Company, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation each donated $5 million to the fund in support. Other current funders include the City of Atlanta and Truist Foundation contributing $1 million each, Wells Fargo and Global Payments contributing $250,000 each, The Primerica Foundation contributing $50,000, and $25,000 jointly from 11Alive and the TEGNA Foundation.

“In just one week, we received a groundswell of support from corporations, foundations and individuals across Greater Atlanta,” says United Way of Greater Atlanta President and CEO Milton J. Little, Jr. “Thanks to their immediate and generous response, we are able to infuse substantial funding into those organizations that are on the front lines of meeting the urgent needs of our vulnerable populations.”


The Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund bolsters nonprofit organizations supporting:

  •   Families with young children and children on free and reduced lunch
  •   Individuals without health insurance, access to sick days or access to  healthcare
  •   Seniors and older adults
  •   Low-wage workers including hospitality, service industry and gig economy workers


Initial priorities will focus on the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations resulting from closures and support community safety nets such as food insecurity, rent and utility assistance, medical supports and childcare. Additional priorities are the educational and emotional needs of children and youth across our region. Funds will help fill gaps for nonprofits before federal and other funding flows to this sector.

 Our region is likely to experience stresses in many areas: income insecurity, evictions, food insecurity, access to health care, childcare while schools are closed, access to online learning for K-12 students, small business bankruptcies and nonprofit closures. The Community Foundation and United Way continue to monitor impacts to our nonprofit sector as this crisis impacts our region.

Individuals and families impacted and in need of support can contact United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2-1-1 Contact Center. Due to high call volumes, texting is the quickest way to get in touch with United Way 2-1-1. Text 211od to 898-211 to get a list of resources by zip code. The 2-1-1 database is another quick way to find resources during this time of increased call volume. 2-1-1 is a valuable resource that is available 24-hours and 7 days-a-week.

The need continues to rise as stories accumulate from across our neighborhoods, donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund today. The next round of grants will be announced by Friday, March 27.

 The Community Foundation will continue to update details for donors and nonprofits through its blog and via social media via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been leading and inspiring philanthropy to increase the vitality of our region and the well-being of all residents. With nearly 70 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation expands its philanthropic reach and impact by providing quality services to donors and bold, innovative community leadership. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation among 750 nationally, with approximately $1.2 billion in current assets, and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. For more information, visit: cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


About United Way of Greater Atlanta
United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way chapter in the nation, focuses on ensuring that every child in Atlanta has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. The organization invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Impact Fund and works to help children succeed in school, improve financial stability of families, provide affordable and accessible healthcare and end homelessness. For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.


Media Contacts:
For United Way United Way of Greater Atlanta
Chad Parker, 404.358.5055