COVID-19 Rapid Response

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    Karl Samp

      On Friday the 13th, our Brainerd YMCA Director asked me to lunch where he unveiled his plans to start a day camp to serve the children of health care and other essential and emergency workers in our community should the schools shut down. He had a pending grant proposal into us for a summer day camp for the Y, and I said it may be possible to expedite that if necessary.

      On Sunday, Gov. Walz announced all MN schools would close by Wed. and Sunday afternoon, the Brainerd School District sent out an email that they would close starting on Monday. I sent an email request to our Board of Directors on Sunday afternoon to approve the emergency grant to the Y, and by that evening, all 13 had responded and we approved the proposal. By Tuesday, there was a signed grant agreement and the Day camp was open the same day, immediately serving 20 children with an expectation of serving between 75-100 children of local workers. We also plan to suspend this year’s grant round to divert the money into our new Community Response Fund so we can address urgent situations as they arise. We will invite our donors and the public to join us in supporting this fund and our communities.

      These are unprecedented times, requiring nimble and flexible grant-making by community foundations, and we are in a unique position to do just that.

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