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About the Response Fund

The Coronavirus Response Fund is a coalition of philanthropy, government, and business partners who united to create a Response Fund that will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of Central Kentucky’s current Coronavirus pandemic. Led by a partnership between United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) and the Blue Grass Community Foundation (BGCF), the fund will provide flexible resources to organizations in the joint service region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. 

One-time operating grants will fund organizations and programs that have deep roots in Central Kentucky and strong experience working to provide residents with access to food, prescriptions/healthcare and other childcare and basic needs.  The fund is designed to complement the work of local public health, nonprofit, and government entities, and to expand local capacity to support individuals and families experiencing hardship as a result of the outbreak and related closures and disruptions.

The first phase of the rapid-response grants will increase resiliency in disproportionately affected communities by addressing the immediate and basic needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by loss of work or reduced wages, school and business closures, and the increased demand for healthcare information and support among our most vulnerable community members. 

Grants will be awarded from the Response Fund, housed at BGCF in partnership with UWBG and in close collaboration with community advisors and local governments.  Together, we will proactively identify potential grant recipients, solicit guidance on potential partnerships and recommend final awards as quickly as possible. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases. 

How to Donate

  • To donate online, click HERE.

  • To donate by text, please send your donation amount in dollars, to 859.208.2850

  • If your business or company would like to join the coalition and provide a corporate gift, please email

  • To donate by check, please indicate that your gift should be directed to the Coronavirus Response Fund. Checks should be made to Blue Grass Community Foundation and mailed to:

                                   Blue Grass Community Foundation
                                   Attn:  Coronavirus Response Fund
                                   499 E. High Street #112
                                   Lexington, KY 40507

Local businesses are supporting the Coronavirus Response Fund through the sale of select products or services. See the list of supporters and items you can purchase below.

Grant Funding 

To deploy resources rapidly, we will not be accepting requests for funding or posting a grant application. We will instead work together with community advisors and funders to identify organizations currently providing supports to Central Kentucky residents that are aligned with the priorities of the Response Fund in order to expand available resources and relief.  Priorities in the first phase of funding will include:  food, childcare, transportation and healthcare or prescription assistance. 

For questions regarding the Coronavirus Response Fund, and how grant funds will be deployed, please contact:

Jonathan Kohn              
United Way of the Bluegrass       
Director of Community Impact

Barbara Fischer                
Blue Grass Community Foundation        
Director of Nonprofit Services

The Coronavirus Response Fund awards flexible, rapid response grants to local and regional nonprofits to support individuals and families across the joint UWBG and BGCF joint service region. Community advisors and funders help identify organizations currently providing supports to Central Kentucky residents that are aligned with the priorities of the Fund in order to expand available resources and relief. Priorities in the first phase of funding include:  food, childcare, transportation, healthcare or prescription assistance, and rent and utility assistance. The advisory committee meets regularly to determine available funds and issue new grant awards. As of August 2020 grants awarded from the Fund total over $635,000.


Lead Coalition Partners

Thank you to our coalition partners who are helping to support the community through the Coronavirus Response Fund:

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Don Jacobs, Sr. Charitable Foundation

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Media Partners

Thank you to the Media Partners helping us share the message about how we can come together to support our community.


iHeartMedia Lexington:


Media Inquiries

Katie Williams
United Way of the Bluegrass 
Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Shop to Support

Team Kentucky Masks

For every 1 cloth mask sold, 1 mask will be donated to a local nonprofit! In addition, a portion of every sale will be donated back to the Fund.

Bulk order is available for businesses interested in placing larger orders for employees or clients.

Kentucky for Kentucky

Thank you to our friends at Kentucky for Kentucky! When you purchase the shirts below, net proceeds will go to support the Coronavirus Response Fund.

Net proceeds from the Team Kentucky and Commonwealth of Kentucky shirts benefit the fund.


I’m an individual who’s been affected by Coronavirus. Can this Fund help me?

We understand many individuals and families have already been affected by the outbreak and more will continue to be affected. On behalf of the Fund’s partners, United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) and Blue Grass Community Foundation (BGCF), we are working to move resources to community-based organizations that are directly supporting residents and families who are most affected by emerging health, economic, and social impacts.

While the Fund is not currently able to provide direct assistance to individuals, it is funding community-based organizations that have the experience and history of providing people and families with services and support. We will work to update you on the organizations that have received grant funding. If you are looking for resources now, please consider contacting 211 for information about direct assistance organizations. 

My organization is interested in resources from this Fund. Can we be considered?

We understand the coronavirus outbreak is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for services, lost revenue due to closures and cancellations, as well as other challenges. United Way is working closely with BGCF, local governments and community partners to ensure that the grants awarded meet the greatest needs in communities disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus. To move resources quickly, we are not hosting a formal application process for the Fund. You may contact Jonathan Kohn, UWBG Director of Community Impact ( to make sure we are aware of your needs and can keep them in mind as the granting process progresses and needs become more clear.

I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?

To ensure we move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to needs of communities most impacted, we are not able to restrict or designate donations to the Fund at this time. The Coronavirus Response Fund was created in hopes of providing a way to coordinate as many resources as possible across our service area.

Should I give to this Fund instead of making other donations?

This Fund was not created to be the only vehicle for getting needed resources into the community, but to help facilitate getting more targeted resources into the community. This is a critical time for so many, including the nonprofit organizations who’ve benefited from your giving in the past, as well as those who’ve had to cancel their annual fundraising events or depend heavily on public gatherings. Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community.

What will NOT be included in the first phase of funding?

We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs now and the longer-term impacts of the outbreak and recovery. In this first phase, we are prioritizing community-based organizations that are serving communities and individuals who are immediately and disproportionately suffering from this crisis. Our immediate focus areas include access to food; access to healthcare and prescription medications; access to transportation, and access to childcare. 

Based upon the charitable structure of the Coronavirus Response Fund, our grants are limited to 501c3 nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. 

Is there a geographic area of focus for the Fund?

The Coronavirus Response Fund will prioritize community-based organizations within the defined service areas of United Way of the Bluegrass and Blue Grass Community Foundation. We are doing this with a recognition that many nonprofits serve workers and residents in our neighboring counties. 

When will you share who you fund?

The first round of grants were made to organizations on March 19 and March 23. We anticipate making a second round of grant funding in the coming weeks and will publish the list of selected grantees on the UWBG and BGCF websites. We hope that this will help the community navigate available resources.

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