Mayor Fischer announces One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund to help Louisvillians impacted by virus outbreak

March 18, 2020

Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville Metro Government, the Community Foundation of Louisville, Metro United Way and other community partners have created an emergency response fund to rapidly deploy resources to individuals and community-based organizations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in our region.

The One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible funding resources for rental assistance, childcare assistance, transportation aid, food access, utility assistance, pharmaceutical needs and other support as determined, via $1,000 payments to eligible households. Funds will also be made available to community-based organizations that are being hit hard by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that the necessary response to stem the spread of COVID-19 is creating hardships for so many in our community, especially some of our most vulnerable,” said Mayor Fischer. “This fund is meant to ease that burden somewhat.”

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The Mayor also singled out Ambassador Matthew Barzun, the publisher of Louisville Magazine and a prominent local philanthropist, for helping to lead the fundraising effort for the One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund.

“I could not be prouder of the way our community leaders, businesses, and GLI have stepped up,” the Mayor said. “This is what a compassionate city does.”

Funds will be managed by the Community Foundation of Louisville, with distribution to households managed by Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Resilience & Community Services. Funding to community groups will be directed by the Community Foundation of Louisville, in coordination with Metro United Way and fund partners.

In just a matter of days, organizers have already built the fund to more than $3.6 million, but that amount is expected to grow significantly as more contributions, large and small, come in. To donate to One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund, go to COVID-19 Response Fund.

“Our focus, as always, is on uniting the people and resources necessary to meet our community’s most pressing needs,” said Theresa Reno-Weber, President and CEO of Metro United Way. “Today, our community needs us now more than ever to address the immediate challenges we face through this crisis. We are proud to work in partnership with Mayor Fischer, the Community Foundation of Louisville, and many others to ensure the necessary resources go to those who need them most in the most coordinated, transparent, and effective way.” 

One of the largest donations has come from the family of Christy Brown, the local philanthropist, who is recovering at her home from COVID-19. Brown and her children contributed $1.5 million.

“I may be alone in my home, as so many of us are, but I am also so inspired by our awakening of how interconnected we truly are,” Brown said. “While we are going to get past this virus if we all do our part, let's never again forget that our health in all its forms – physical, economic, spiritual, and more – is something we share in common.”

UPS is one of the private companies that helped organize this effort and is one of its first donors.

“UPS believes it is critical that the public and private sectors work together to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our community,” said UPS Airlines President Brendan Canavan.

“We take corporate citizenship very seriously, and we are pleased to take a leading role in these $1,000 grants to help citizens in need.”

The James Graham Brown Foundation has donated $1 million to the fund.

“The James Graham Brown Foundation stands ready to support our city and those suffering from this unprecedented crisis,” said Mason Rummel, the foundation’s President and CEO. “Our hope is that this initial support of $1 million toward the relief fund will inspire others to consider their own response to helping our most vulnerable citizens and our extraordinary city.”

The Humana Foundation also weighed in with its support.

“These are unprecedented times for us all as we navigate the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Bruce D. Broussard, Humana Foundation Board Chairman. “Every day, the situation evolves, creating greater complexity for those in our community, especially our most vulnerable citizens. But it’s times like these that define countries, states, and local communities. Louisville is a city that time and again has proved its ability to rally around a common cause for its people. Support the One Louisville coalition and lift our city up during this challenging time.”

The Community Foundation of Louisville is providing funding as well as fund administration.

“We are fortunate to be a part of a caring, generous, and resilient community during this incredible time of need,” said Trisha Finnegan, the foundation’s Chief Strategy Officer. “In partnership with our generous donors, we will continue to leverage our resources to lift those most in need, especially now.”

Household assistance

Households seeking assistance should call their nearest Neighborhood Place location. Those locations are closed to walk-ins but will have drop-boxes available to leave verification documents required for getting assistance.

To be eligible for support, individuals/households must be Jefferson County residents with an income at or below 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), which is determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The AMI for the Louisville region is $76,400 for a four-person family (100 percent AMI).

Applicants will be asked to offer proof of identity and supporting documents that demonstrate a loss of earned income due to the COVID-19 pandemic due to medical reasons, business closure, or school closure.

To find a Neighborhood Place in their area, residents may call Metro311 or (502) 574-5000, or visit www.louisvilleky.gov/neighborhoodplace.

Assistance for community-based organizations

The One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund also seeks to address both short-term needs of nonprofit organizations, as well as reserve funding to address longer-term potential impacts.

Community-based organizations seeking assistance should contact the Community Foundation of Louisville at (502) 585-4649 or go to https://www.cflouisville.org/.

In order to move resources quickly and not further burden organizations at the frontline of this outbreak, there is no formal application process during the initial round of funding. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases.

The One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund expects to make an initial round of grants in April.

To donate, please visit: COVID-19 Response Fund

New locations for some Metro March for Meals food distribution sites

Mayor Fischer also announced that three of the sites used to distribute food to seniors via the Metro March for Meals are changing.

Here is the complete list of pickup sites (New sites in bold):

  • Mondays – St. Stephen Church Parking Lot (1019 S. 15th St., 40210)
  • Tuesdays – Beechmont Community Center (205 Wellington Ave., 40214)
  • Wednesdays – Sun Valley Community Center (6505 Bethany Lane, 40272) and East Government Center (200 Juneau Drive, 40243)
  • Thursdays – Slaughter Elementary School (3805 Fern Valley Road, 40219)
  • Fridays – Former Old Louisville Kroger Site (924 S. Second St., 40203)

Now through April 3, up to 1,000 frozen meal packs (each containing five meals) will be distributed each weekday at six locations throughout the community on a rotating schedule.