La PORTE — The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte will provide emergency grants to qualifying organizations working to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in La Porte County.

The Board of Directors voted to approve the plan on Tuesday.

“In line with the HFL’s mission, the board took swift action to respond to community needs,” HFL Board Chair Jeff Bernel said.

“We exist to empower residents to live healthy in and around La Porte. Our mission dictates that we address the COVID-19 health crisis at a local level, and we are pleased to have been able to put this plan in place so quickly,” he said.

Maria Fruth, president and CEO of HFL, said the COVID-19 Emergency Grants Plan takes a multifaceted approach as the impact of the pandemic continues to unfold.

“This plan is designed to be flexible and easy for qualifying organizations to access funding as needs are identified,” she said. “We must be able to respond quickly as our needs as a community change.”

Phase 1 of the plan addresses immediate needs. It runs from March 25 to May 30, but can be flexible to follow the progression of the crisis and government orders, Fruth said.

Phase 2 is designed to address some of the long-term affects the community will face and will include recovery efforts funding.

The second phase will be shared upon board approval and communicated to the community, as soon as the immediate crisis is over and long-term needs are identified, Fruth said.

In Phase 1, the HFL will prioritize the following services related to the increased demand as a result of the outbreak:

Food needs for La Porte County residents with food insecurity

The elderly and other high-risk populations

Supplies to support emergency response

Healthcare and emergency response workers in need of protective gear and equipment

Unrestricted funds to NFP for business continuity

If organizations have a need not listed above, they can email mfruth@hflaporte.org. Organizations should go to the HFL Grant Portal to complete their applications. Visit hflaporte.org for a link to information and the application. The deadline will be rolling (applications will be considered until May 30, and that deadline also may be extended).

General guidelines are as follows:

Organizations may request between $1,000 and $50,000 in funding

If needs exceed $50,000, email mfruth@hflaporte.org

Decisions regarding applications will occur within 48 hours. Funds will be sent electronically to grantee.

Applying organizations should be prepared to provide basic information about their organization, and information about their needs and plans for the funds. Details are in the application itself.

The HFL also invites the entire community to visit their web site and check the COVID-19 Resource Hub at hflaporte.org/covid-19 -resources/ – an online resource that serves as a clearing house for community needs and ways to help.

Fruth urges the community to engage with the resource hub.

“Able to help? Consider a donation to two county relief funds that are listed in the Local Community Needs section of the Hub: The United Way of La Porte County COVID-19 Relief Fund, and the Unity Foundation La Porte County Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund,” she said.

Check the hub regularly for updates to keep informed, or contact the HFL to learn more about how it supports the community and get involved in the effort at hflaporte.org or by calling (219) 326-2471.

– From staff reports

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