Northern Kentucky relief fund has granted more than $400,000 so far to nonprofits

Launched in late March, a fund created to support Northern Kentuckians facing crises or urgent needs during the pandemic has raised more than $2 million and given away more than $400,000.

Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky started its coronavirus relief fund to provide financial help to nonprofit organizations serving Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties that are seeing increased demands for assistance due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

In its first round of funding, Horizon granted $150,000 to Covington’s largest food pantry, run by Be Concerned. As the virus spread, the pantry canceled front-desk shifts at its main waiting room on Pike Street and started distributing food “car-hop style” in its parking lot.

As drivers pulled up, they were handed a menu to order from, and then volunteers filled the order and carried the canned goods, dry goods, meat and produce to the cars. Those who walked or arrived by bus were asked to sit spaced far apart in the waiting area while their orders were filled.

Horizon also granted $35,000 to Faith Community Pharmacy in the initial round. The pharmacy provides medicine and pharmaceutical care to people unable to afford it in 14 Northern Kentucky counties.

The pharmacy says it has expanded its operations to meet a growing need due to layoffs, furloughs, and limited medical access. Working to keep people out of busy hospitals, the pharmacy says it has waived its normal qualifications to provide medication to anyone in need until the crisis passes.

In its second round, the fund granted $200,000 to Meals on Wheels of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky; $30,000 to Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank; $6,000 to Learning Grove, a child care agency; and $4,500 to St. Vincent DePaul Northern Kentucky.

Horizon Funds spokesperson Tess Brown says the grants have generated an expanding “web of impact.”

“The advisory committee guiding our relief fund has worked incredibly hard to allocate money to nonprofits that are able to really leverage their networks with other nonprofits,” she says. “So, the number and list of nonprofits we have actually impacted through this fund is much greater.”

The fund was created by matching gifts from the Butler Foundation and the R.C. Durr Foundation, and corporations including Fischer Homes, Drees Homes Foundation, First Financial Bank, AT&T Kentucky, Central Bank, CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, the Charles H. Dater Foundation, Duke Energy, Fifth Third Foundation, Forcht Bank, Heritage Bank, Huntington Bank, the Milburn Family Foundation, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Northern Kentucky University, Republic Bank, the Scripps Howard Foundation, and St. Elizabeth Healthcare, as well as individual donors.

Continued COVID-19 coverage has been supported by a grant from the Facebook Journalism Project, a program run in partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and Local Media Association.

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.