The Lawrence Township Community Foundation has awarded $50,000 in special grants to 14 local nonprofits that are helping people cope with the pandemic.
The foundation had tabled the usual spring grant process to enable it to quickly respond to emerging community needs. The LTCF board decided how to distribute the grants in a recent online meeting.
The organizations receiving funds are Camp Fire NJ, CASA, Dress for Success, GI GO Foundation, HomeFront, Interfaith Caregivers, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Lawrenceville Main Street, NAMI Mercer, New Beginnings Community Center for Well-Being, PEI Kids, SERV, We Make — Autism at Work and Womanspace.
The $50,000 is a record amount given by LTCF, which is usually able to award half that amount in each of its two grant cycles per year. The $50,000 is in addition to the $20,000 awarded in April from an emergency grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was immediately distributed to organizations providing food assistance.
The additional $25,000 added to the regular funds available was made possible in part by a gift of $5,000 from The Lawrenceville School. The board reports that it also tapped into a special rainy-day fund that had been sequestered in interest-bearing accounts for several years.
The account, known as the Bill Guhl Fund, was the result of a fundraising program to honor Guhl, long-time Lawrence Township manager. He was also a charter member of the LTCF Board when it formed in 2002.
Annual funding of LTCF from major donors, Bristol-Myers Squibb, The Lawrenceville School and Educational Testing Service provides yearly ongoing support of the grant awards.
“The board members were very concerned about the impact of the virus on Lawrence residents,” said Rachel Cantlay, president of the all-volunteer organization, in a media release. “While we have sparingly used some of the money for special projects, like Community Conversations and Hurricane Sandy, the volunteer board unanimously agreed that with the terrible results of the pandemic on the people of Lawrence, now was the right time to go all in.”
Cantlay says donations came in from individuals specifically to support the special Covid-19 grants as well. “We appreciate community support, including that from the volunteer LTCF board members and The Lawrenceville School,” she said. “However, even with the $50,000, we were unable to totally fund the more than $72,000 in actual funds requested.”
The Lawrence Township Community Foundation has provided funding to nonprofits serving the Lawrence community twice a year for 18 years.