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More than $100,000 has been raised to benefit Valley faith-based nonprofits and community benefit organizations that are facing financial hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organizations receiving grants from the fund are based in Fresno, New London, Hanford, Kingsburg, and Merced, and provide a variety of services, including community development neighborhood improvement programs, human trafficking victim assistance, foster care ministry, food and clothing relief, job development for gang youth, and homeless assistance.

The Faith-Based Nonprofit Resilience Fund, spearheaded by the Center for Community Transformation at Fresno Pacific University in partnership with nonprofit leaders, was created in April after a center survey showed that stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus were adversely affecting small nonprofits.

The survey showed that one in three small faith-based nonprofits in the Valley had to lay off or furlough staff, and one in four said their existence would be threatened if shelter-in-place restrictions extended into May.

The city of Fresno’s shelter-in-place was extended through the month of May, while the state of California’s stay-at-home order is still in effect but is being gradually modified as conditions warrant.

Many Services Provided

The organizations receiving grants from the fund are based in Fresno, New London, Hanford, Kingsburg, and Merced, and provide a variety of services, including community development neighborhood improvement programs, human trafficking victim assistance, foster care ministry, food and clothing relief, job development for gang youth, and homeless assistance.

“We need these vital community benefit organizations not only to survive the crisis but be healthy to help with our recovery in the aftermath,” said Randy White, the center’s executive director.

Headed by White, the steering committee includes Ashley Swearengin, CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation; H Spees, director of strategic initiatives for the Fresno Mayor’s Office; Artie Padilla, executive director of Every Neighborhood Partnership; and Phil Skei, neighborhood initiatives manager at the Fresno Housing Authority Office and co-pastor at On Ramps Covenant Church.

Potential donors received an email April 22, and Fresno Pacific set up a link for donations at bit.ly/3bqnEyn. The first gifts were sent beginning May 11 and will continue until the end of the campaign.

Allocations are made based on a four-tiered system according to need, capacity, and viability.

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