Early in the morning on March 25, the Chaffee County Community Foundation (CCCF) announced that a matching campaign and assistance availability from the Emergency Response Fund (ERF), has been launched.  The ERF is a critical local relief fund that will provide direct financial assistance to Chaffee individuals, families, and nonprofits affected by COVID-19 .

The press release from CCCF Executive Director Joseph Tiepel said, “The campaign is seeking donors who can help the fund attain a level of resources commensurate with the local need, as well as eligible recipients, who can seek financial assistance.  According to the Chaffee Office of Housing, well over 5,000 Chaffee employees have been, or will be, directly impacted by COVID-19-related business closures.” The release continued, “Many of those may not be eligible for current state or federal assistance. The ERF is designed to meet the needs of those individuals and families, yet generous and ongoing community support is needed.”

CCCF Executive Director Joseph Teipel says “I have been incredibly humbled by the community initiative and response so far. With the threats posed by COVID-19 affecting so many, this campaign is a bright spot of hope and optimism showcasing the power of community.”

The press release this morning shared that CCCF aims to raise $200,000 for the ERF by mid-April, of which $139,000 (or 70 percent) has already been committed.

Since Friday, $80,000 has been put towards the matching campaign:

  • The Town of Buena Vista with $32,000
  • The City of Salida with $28,000
  • The Salida School District with $20,000

CCCF said, “These elected boards have recognized the gravity of the situation and have demonstrated great leadership in committing to match every additional dollar that CCCF raises from other sources up to that ceiling.”

Spurred by the announcements by municipalities of the challenge gifts, community members have already begun donating to the fund, with $20,000 contributed so far. Also notable, the following donors made major contributions to the ERF, even before the municipal contributions were officially announced.

Chaffee County Community Foundation, Emergency Relief Campaign, Donation tally, 03/25/20. Graphic courtesy CCCF

  • Fertile Ground Fund………………………………… $15,000
  • Don and Pam Dubin Charitable Fund……….. $10,000
  • High Country Bank…………………………………. $5,000
  • Collegiate Peaks Bank……………………………. $2,000
  • Legacy Bank………………………………………….. $1,000
  • TBK Bank………………………………………………. $1,000

Applicants for the ERF Can Seek Assistance Beginning Today 

CCCF is partnering with Chaffee County Department of Human Services (CCDHS) to accept applications for assistance. The process is now live and ready. To find out if they are eligible, individuals and households with financial needs related to COVID-19 should call (719) 530-2500 to ask for help. If the DHS cannot provide state or federal resources, it will automatically refer those applications directly to CCCF for processing through the ERF. If you or anyone you know lost a job, had hours cut, or have other needs brought on by the novel coronavirus, please reach out the CCDHS today.

Chaffee County Community Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund Banner

CCCF is also offering direct assistance to nonprofit organizations that either have a creative solution to a COVID-19 related community need OR are themselves adversely impacted financially due to the virus.  They can apply for assistance to CCCF at: https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=ccgrants.

CCF is asking community members who are able to contribute, to do so either online or via check made out to CCCF with “ERF” in the memo line. Those looking for more information or to donate can go to www.chaffeecommunity.org/erf.

CCCF also encouraged the community to check them out on Facebook and Instagram, or sign up for their newsletter at www.chaffeecommunity.org to get notifications and updates.