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Horizon Coronavirus Relief Fund growing though community, partnerships; you can donate

The Horizon NKY Coronavirus Relief Fund, introduced to Northern Kentucky by Horizon Community Funds, has seen great success within its first weeks of launching in March. To date, the Fund has raised $2 million through donations and partnerships of all sizes, including generous support from The Butler Foundation and The R.C. Durr Foundation, and corporate citizens including Fischer Homes and Drees Homes Foundation, First Financial Bank, and other individuals.

The Fund is providing financial assistance to nonprofits serving Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky that are experiencing increased demand for resources in response to the COVID-19 virus in our community. The fund is designed to complement the work of local public health, nonprofit, and government entities, and to expand local capacity to support individuals and families experiencing hardship because of the outbreak and related closures and disruptions.

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Horizon Community Funds recently announced its first deployment of resources from the fund. $150,000 will be immediately awarded to a network of organizations and schools that provide meals to Northern Kentuckians. The funds will be coordinated by Covington-based nonprofit Be Concerned, which has operated one of the largest free food pantries in Northern Kentucky since 1987. An additional $35,000 will be sent to Faith Community Pharmacy, the only charitable pharmacy in the Northern Kentucky region. The organization has seen a drastic spike in clients, as well as a spike in costs of some medications as demand increases across the country.

While local funders and businesses came together with larger gifts to help seed the fund for its launch, Horizon Community Funds is also looking to the community to keep giving at all levels.

“We’re already seeing community support pour in, and we hope you all take time to reflect on the change that you make happen here in Northern Kentucky,” said Horizon Community Funds President Nancy Grayson. “Many of the gifts made to our funds have been in amounts of $100 or less. If you can help, a gift of any amount has power to do good in our local community.”

Northern Kentucky Chamber President Brent Cooper wanted to make sure his gift went to the right place in a time of community crisis.

“The Horizon NKY Coronavirus Relief Fund is a way to help provide critical resources for the NKY region, at a time when we need it most,” he said. “As we navigate our way through this crisis, I’m grateful to have this as another helping hand. It will help ensure that, when this crisis is over, our community will come roaring back. As always, we are stronger together.”

The Horizon NKY Coronavirus Relief Fund also caught the attention of the Dixie Heights High School Lady Colonels soccer team, who selected the Fund for their collective gift.

Dixie Heights soccer team.

“This virus reminds us that you never know when you’re going to step on that beloved field or see your favorite person for the last time,” said Dixie Heights Senior Kelsey Schmid. “We have lost too many people and need to become one big team to get through this — with Dixie pride.”

Local businesses can also make a difference in ways that work for them. Whether it’s giving a portion of proceeds from sales, purchase of a particular service or product, an employee donation match program, or simply spreading awareness of the Relief Fund, there is a great need for the local business community to get involved in Northern Kentucky.

One such business, Lil’s Bagels in Covington, immediately stepped up to the challenge. After promoting sales and tips for a designated day in late March, the small business was able to write a check for $721 for the Fund.

Lil’s Bagels owner Julia Keister says, “Our Lil’s mission statement includes being an inclusive community space and community anchor. With this goal we always try to support the community through monthly fundraisers or events. So when the coronavirus hit we knew we wanted to find a way to help right away. When doing research on local efforts, we found the Horizon relief fund and decided as a group it was something we could raise money for that would make a difference to our immediate community. We are very grateful for how customers came through with pitching in and showing their humanity. We truly want to thank Horizon Community Funds and everyone who donated for taking action in these crazy times.”

Business leaders who are interested in giving back but are not sure where to start are encouraged to contact Horizon Community Funds President Nancy Grayson at ngrayson@horizonfunds.org or 859.468.4665.

Lil’s Bagels

Helping restaurants and healthcare workers

The community can also provide support for two other crucial components of Northern Kentucky–its healthcare workers and its restaurants.

The continued partnership between Horizon Community Funds and St. Elizabeth Healthcare has introduced the St. Elizabeth Associate Crisis Support Fund, which offers financial assistance to St. Elizabeth employees during times of unexpected personal need. The fund allows donors the opportunity to directly support the needs of St. Elizabeth healthcare workers on the front lines of this crisis. This fund has raised $250,000 for Northern Kentucky’s essential frontline workers so far and anticipates the need for these resources will only increase over the coming months.

Additionally, The NKY Restaurant Relief Fund, a first-of-its-kind stimulus program which distributed its first $15,000 in grants this week and will grant $1,000 each to select local restaurants again in the coming week. Here’s how it works: after purchasing a $50 minimum gift card to any qualifying Northern Kentucky restaurant or bar, an individual or business can then upload a copy of their receipt, address and contact information to the Restaurant Relief Fund website. This will then automatically nominate the restaurant for one of ten $1,000 grants that will be awarded weekly.

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Horizon Community Funds will act as the 501(c)(3) organization receiving all donated funds with NKY Tri-ED assisting and serving as the program’s administrator. The fund seeks to raise a minimum of $20,000 and in excess of $50,000 through donations from businesses and individuals.

Relief Fund efforts are also supported by Central Bank, The Charles H. Dater Foundation, CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, Drees Homes Foundation, Duke Energy, Fifth Third Foundation, Forcht Bank, Heritage Bank, MCM CPAs & Advisors, The Milburn Family Foundation, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Northern Kentucky University, The Scripps Howard Foundation, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and Republic Bank. Many generous individuals have also stepped up to offer support for the fund as it grows in Northern Kentucky.

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