Nearly 400 nonprofit organizations throughout Riverside County received a total of $3.5 million in grants approved by the Board of Supervisors as part of a distribution to offset impacts from the public health lockdowns that began over six months ago, it was announced Wednesday.

“Our nonprofit partners are vital and critical components to serving the growing needs of Riverside County constituents,” Supervisor Karen Spiegel said.

“We’re glad to see that Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act funding has been able to assist numerous nonprofit agencies in the county. We couldn’t get through this crisis without their dedication and partnership in serving our residents.”

In June, at Spiegel’s urging, the board established the Riverside County Nonprofit Fund, making a total $5 million in funds from the coronavirus aid bill available to qualifying nonprofit organizations. Just over 7,500 are registered countywide.

Administration of the disbursals is being handled by the Inland Empire Community Foundation, whose representatives said 391 entities had received $3.46 million between mid-June and mid-September.

Grants range from $2,500 to $10,000 per organization, according to officials.

Recipients include houses of worship, free clinics, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, community theaters, animal rescues, chambers of commerce, the Riverside County Bar Association and groups providing for special needs children.

The complete list is available at www.iegives.org/riverside-county-provides-financial-assistance-to-nonprofits-with-covid-relief-grants/.

Inland Empire Community Foundation CEO Michelle Decker acknowledged that the lockdowns which forced businesses and other operations to close countywide had ushered in “unforeseen challenges, including loss of revenue and postponed events.”

“Now they’re struggling to stay afloat for the long-term even while meeting community needs,” she said.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, several speakers said fundraisers that typically support nonprofit organizations had been canceled since March, shutting off a major source of revenue.

Speakers representing churches and food banks in the western county region also pointed out that demand for edibles had skyrocketed in the last six months, with tens out of thousands of people out of work because of the state and local public health mandates, leaving residents unable to pay for groceries.

One business owner said some of her employees had filed for unemployment assistance months ago and still had not received a check.

The county received $431 million in federal coronavirus aid funding, and one of the board’s first actions was to establish a Small Business Assistance Grant Program, making $45 million in relief grants available to address lockdown repercussions.

Spiegel felt nonprofit organizations had been unfairly left out and immediately proposed a separate program to help those organizations, leading to the establishment of the Riverside County Nonprofit Fund.

Another round of grant distributions is underway, and organizations have until Sept. 30 to apply for relief.

Information on the application process is available at www.iegives.org/funds/riverside-county-npo-assistance-fund/. Questions can also be emailed to rivconpaf@iegives.org or rivconpaf@iegives.org.

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