The Yates Community Endowment has established the Yates Emergency Relief Fund to accept donations from the community to support nonprofit organizations that are providing critical help to local residents adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every dollar donated to the Emergency Relief Fund will be matched by the Nord Family Foundation, up to $25,000 — with every dollar used to support nonprofits providing services to Yates County residents.

“Our neighbors in need are reeling from the unexpected economic and emotional tolls that this pandemic is taking on their lives. Now it’s up to the entire community to step in and help,” says Ann McMullen, co-chair of the Yates Community Endowment Advisory Board.

Since its founding in 2011, the Endowment has awarded annual grants totaling more than $600,000 to provide consistent and critical support to nonprofits serving Yates County. When flash flooding in May 2014 destroyed homes, businesses and roads, the Endowment set up a Disaster Relief Fund and in just a few months raised $177,000. With help and expertise from community partners, that money was distributed to assist those most deeply affected.

“Whenever there is a crisis or a natural disaster, the focus tends to be on what can be done right away,” says Katie Nord Peterson, co-chair of the Endowment’s Advisory Board. “The Yates Community Endowment wants to make sure we can help our neighbors who are suffering through this pandemic today and make sure resources are available to get our communities and nonprofit agencies back up and running when this crisis is over.”

The Yates Community Endowment plans to support three phases of funding:

• Emergency relief, which focuses on immediate and urgent needs of human service organizations that provide help to the county’s most vulnerable residents;

• Recovery relief, which supports nonprofits as they return to normal operations and typical staffing; and

• Resiliency relief, which helps nonprofits that are crucial to our communities’ ability to thrive.

To donate: Any individual, family, business or organization can make a contribution to the Emergency Relief Fund. Donations can be made online using a credit card at www.racf.org/YatesRelief or mail a check payable to Yates Emergency Relief Fund, c/o Yates Community Endowment, 500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607.

To apply for a grant: Nonprofit organizations serving Yates County are eligible to apply based on the three funding phases. Applications can be submitted immediately by logging into the Community Foundation’s grant portal, which can be found at https://bit.ly/YatesRelief. Grants will be reviewed by the Yates Community Endowment on a rolling basis starting the week of May 4.

The Yates Community Endowment is under the guidance of an all-volunteer, all-local Advisory Board. Since its beginning in 2011, Yates Community Endowment has distributed more than $600,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations serving Yates County. 

Based in Ohio, it has contributed more than $111 million for charitable and philanthropic purposes in several communities of interest to the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of founders Walter and Virginia Nord. This Foundation provided a $100,000 challenge grant to help start and grow the Yates Community Endowment in 2011 and a $15,000 challenge grant for the 2014 Disaster Relief Fund.