The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties is pleased to announce that it received $15,000 in corporate donations and pledges to the Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) and the Visit Loudoun Foundation’s Tourism and Hospitality Relief Fund (THRF). These gifts will support the COVID-19 Emergency Fund and Helpline, which provides rental assistance to Loudoun families in need.
Wells Fargo and Washington Gas recently committed $5,000 to the CERF while AT&T has provided $5,000 to the THRF. In April, Loudoun Chamber Foundation also donated more than $8,000 after launching a matching campaign among its members. Including a $100,000 gift from Google earlier this month, the local COVID-19 emergency efforts have raised $250,000. The Community Foundation issued a challenge to the community to match Google’s contribution.
“We appreciate these large corporations answering the call, and express our heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of other donors who have contributed to the funds,” said Community Foundation President Amy Owen.
“Throughout our 145-year history, we’ve worked to be there when people need us. The hospitality industry has been hit hard during this crisis, which is why we’re supporting the Visit Loudoun Foundation’s Tourism & Hospitality Relief fund,” stated Garrett McGuire, External and Legislative Affairs with AT&T.
John O’Brien, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Public Affairs at Washington Gas, stated “We value the work of the Community Foundation and applaud the staff for taking exemplary measures to meeting the needs of the Loudoun community.”
Loudoun residents in need of rental assistance can call the COVID-19 Emergency Fund and Helpline at (703) 669-5040. Trained staff from Catholic Charities and Loudoun Cares complete an intake process and assess the needs of each caller, and are able to accommodate foreign language requests through bilingual staff and volunteers as well as interpreter services. To date, more than 64 households have been provided rental assistance and almost 40% of callers receiving support meet federal poverty guidelines.
“The funds from the Community Emergency Relief Fund and the Tourism and Hospitality Relief Fund are a huge help to struggling families calling the Helpline,” said Valerie Pisierra, executive director of Loudoun Cares.
In just one example of a family receiving assistance, Pisierra described a family with four children who fell behind on rent after the pandemic hit. The mother ran a daycare program and father is a gig worker no longer able to find work, and they found themselves unable to pay their rent after the stay-at-home orders were placed. Multiple barriers made it impossible to file the paperwork associated with government assistance programs. Falling behind on their rent, the Helpline worked with the family’s landlord to cover their rent payment with funding from the Community Emergency Relief Fund, leveraged with funding from faith-based groups partnering with Loudoun Cares and Catholic Charities. “Fortunately, we were able to help this family, but we have many more calls from people who still need our help,” said Pisierra.
On Tuesday, May 19, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to provide a $50,000 donation to the CERF to provide additional rental assistance to Loudoun residents who do not qualify for the county-administered rental assistance program. For example, residents renting basement apartments or rooms in a private residence may not be eligible for some of the county’s rental assistance programs, but could be helped by the COVID-19 Emergency Fund and Helpline if the donation is approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The Community Foundation will also deploy CERF funding to support local nonprofit organizations facing reduced income. Gifts to the Community Emergency Relief Fund may be made at https://communityfoundationlf.org/emergencyrelief and to the Tourism and Hospitality Relief Fund at https://communityfoundationlf.org/product/tandhfund/.