First grants from COVID-19 Response Fund announced

Eden Prairie residents in need of food, job-readiness help, transportation assistance, and grief counseling during the coronavirus pandemic are getting help through the Eden Prairie Community Foundation.

The help is in the form of two quick-response grants from the Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund: one to PROP for $8,000 and another to the Brighter Days Grief Center for $3,000.

More grants will be issued from the Response Fund over the coming weeks, as donations from generous individuals, families, and companies continue to be made. Donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund can be made on the Foundation website or by mailing a check to: Eden Prairie Community Foundation, COVID-19 Response Fund, 8080 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55344.

PROP, the local social-services agency, is facing additional costs after changing its model for providing food to those in need. It’s relying more on non-perishables – including non-perishables it needs to purchase – because sourcing food from grocery stores requires too much handling by groups of volunteers. It also expects an uptick in demand for its employment and transportation assistance as the pandemic and recession linger.

Meanwhile, Brighter Days Grief Center, which provides financial, logistical, and psycho-social support to individuals and families grieving the death or terminal diagnosis of a family member, reports a spike in calls because of the pandemic. Factors include increased isolation, financial strain, and difficulty accessing other mental-health resources. The Foundation grant will support residents who can find help through Brighter Days’ signature program, Embrace-a-Family, which provides gift cards for expenses like groceries, youth activities, and meals.

The COVID-19 Response Fund is designed to help residents with critical needs, and food and good mental health certainly fit in that category. More grants helping with essential needs are yet to come, so we thank the many folks who have donated to the fund, trusting that the Foundation will get grant dollars to where they are needed most. We hope more folks will give back to Eden Prairie in this way, because help is certainly needed.”

The Foundation is also releasing the restrictions on 2020 grants made to 21 different organizations serving Eden Prairie. Many of these grants were for specific projects to be completed this year. But releasing the restrictions will allow these groups to instead use the funds where they are needed most, recognizing that these nonprofits face unprecedented conditions and uncertainties as a result of the pandemic.

Mark Weber About the Author Mark Weber has been the executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation since October 2013. In this role, he enjoys meeting with Eden Prairie residents, and being an active member of the community. If you’d like to connect with Mark, call him at (952) 949-8499 or email him. You can also read Mark’s full biography.

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