Bringing Relief

The novel coronavirus quickly spread throughout the world beginning last year, but the Evansville community acted fast. On March 27, the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region was formed through collaboration with the city of Evansville and local nonprofits, including the United Way of Southwestern Indiana, the Community Foundation Alliance, the Welborn Baptist Foundation, Old National Bank, and Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy Company. The collaborative effort has since grown to include strong representation and leadership from all five counties served.

Five rounds of funding have been completed now, totaling $1,022,424 awarded to nearly 50 area nonprofits. Rounds four and five assist with funding operations, food, early childhood education, veteran’s services, and financial assistance for organizations in Gibson, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties.

“Right now we are in the early stages of relief and the needs are great; the response of our regional community also has been great,” says Pat Creech, Welborn Baptist Foundation executive director. “As the crisis landscape evolves in the months ahead, we will reassess the needs and prioritize opportunities to use the funds so generously donated by our community to move us beyond crisis relief and into and through recovery and restoration.”

In addition to collaborating with the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region, the office of Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announced a new Reopen Evansville Task Force on April 14 and launched the website on April 22. The website provides information on the various stages of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan, business assistance for area business owners and leaders, updates on the local COVID-19 study conducted by Deaconess Health System and Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville, resources on food assistance, and more.

“The website,, was created to be a central clearing house of information and ensure accurate information was available,” says Evansville Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer. “The work of the task force continues to evolve as conditions improve and resources become available. For example, surveys and town hall meetings with different business sectors prepared the task force to focus on specific needs, whether it was access to PPE, complying with guidelines, or convening a study to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in the workplace. Most recently, the task force lobbied the state to allow for an expedited process to increase outdoor seating for restaurants.”

As of June 12, $5.02 million of the $6 million goal has been raised for the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region, which will continue to help the region navigate through every stage of the crisis.

“Ultimately, the grants are simply a tool to administer love,” says Creech. “Seeing our area nonprofits resourced to love folks through such a critical time is a reward our entire community can share together.”

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