Governor Polis sets up state relief fund to help community-based groups amid COVID-19

Posted at 9:29 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 01:01:13-04

DENVER — The state of Colorado has set up a relief fund to help small businesses, nonprofits, local governments, school districts and more in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Gov. Jared Polis announced that the Help Colorado Now fund, which was established last week, began accepting its first grant applications Thursday.

So far, nearly $8 million has been donated to the fund from businesses and individuals who want to help. Mile High United Way, in coordination with the Governor’s Office, will disperse all funds.

“We’ve gotten 4,163 small dollar, individual contributions of anywhere from $5 to $500,” said Danielle Oliveto, the Governor’s deputy chief of staff.

The grants will be given out in increments of up to $25,000 and will be focused on helping community-based organizations.

“We understand the $25,000 can go along way for some folks,” Oliveto said. “We hope we can make a difference.”

The fund will support work in three categories: prevention, impact, and recovery efforts to support things like making medical equipment, food services, early childhood education, small business support, behavioral health services, and more.

Every two weeks, a board will review the applications that have come in to determine how to allocate the money. The first round of grants will be focused on helping prevention and impact groups.

“It is now going to be dispensed immediately, prioritizing childcare for critical workers because we need people who are nurses and doctors and cleaning our hospitals and our first responders to be able to go to work without the schools functioning. They need to have that capacity because we need them,” Gov. Polis said.

The deadline for the first round of applications is due on April 4. After that, the deadlines for applications are: April 18, May 2, May 16 and May 30.

If an organization is funded in the first two deadlines and funding is available, they may reapply 30 days after expending the received funds.

The fund will continue until the money runs out or so long as people and businesses keep donating.

Those who cannot donate financially but still want to contribute in some way are asked to donate blood or to volunteer their time to support relief organizations.

In an effort to help out, Denver7 donated $1,000 to the relief fund through Contact7 Gives.