The Rapid Response Block Grant Program was designed to enhance the capacity of nonprofit partners to administer critical needs grants in a timely and efficient manner, with an emphasis on elderly, disabled and other vulnerable populations, particularly those impacted by the 2017 hurricanes. Priority was given to applicants with one-time emergency needs, especially those needs that could not be met by other sources, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or unemployment assistance.
Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) provided block grants to four longtime Rapid Response Program partners: Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands, Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands, Methodist Training Outreach Center and Virgin Islands Partners for Healthy Communities. As a result, $720,000 was distributed to over 450 individuals or families.
Funds were used for critical expenses, such as medical equipment, medications, rent/mortgage and utility bills, transportation costs, essential furniture/appliances, home repairs and supplies. Grant funds combined with case management alleviated critical financial needs, enhanced self-sufficiency and increased clients’ sense of well-being.
By providing capacity funding totaling $80,000 across the agencies, CFVI also ensured that organizations had the tools, resources and personnel to complete this significant undertaking on a short timeline. CFVI took no fees from the American Red Cross award, ensuring that 100 percent of the grant funds were distributed directly to support the nonprofits and their clients.
Partner agencies shared their appreciation for the funding, which augmented their standard case management assistance, allowing them to reach a greater number of clients and make a significant impact.
“ARC funding allowed us to restore hope and improve many living situations for low-income residents who were in despair or resigned to living in totally unsafe, unhealthy, insecure living conditions,” said Karen Hunt, program director of Virgin Islands Partners for Healthy Communities. “Interaction with clients was an important opportunity to provide education on disaster preparedness and hazard mitigation as well. Clients expressed eternal gratitude for items funded by ARC which were unlikely to be met through any other currently available resource.”
“CFVI is grateful for the extreme generosity of donors on our islands, the mainland U.S., and throughout the world,” said Baecher-Brown. “Donations to CFVI have allowed us to fund organizations that are providing expanded services to the children, the homeless, elderly and other vulnerable populations like our farmers. These donations enable support to organizations that provide essential services and other initiatives contributing to the well-being of the residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands.”