East Tennessee Foundation Launches #COVIDgiveWhereYouLive on Heels of $35,000 COVID-19 Aid to Local Non-Profit

March 30, 2020

East Tennessee Foundation (ETF), a community foundation serving 25 East Tennessee counties with a mission of “thoughtful giving for stronger communities and better lives,” announced today that it has informed Good Neighbors of Blount County, based in Maryville, TN, of a $35,000 donation being given this week to the non-profit as part of a new #COVIDgiveWhereYouLive effort, by the family of an anonymous donor, who is a long-time supporter of ETF philanthropic initiatives.

“We were thrilled today to broker the good news to Good Neighbors of this COVID-19 community-aid gift, granted by a member of ETF’s extended family of community-philanthropy enthusiasts,” said ETF President and CEO Michael McClamroch. 

Good Neighbors of Blount County is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and community ministry based in Maryville, TN, supported by multiple faith communities focused on providing temporary, partial financial aid to individuals and families impacted by economic hardship such as sudden job loss, through partial financial assistance with rent, utilities or other essentials, to help prevent homelessness. The agency also provides financial counsel and coaching, to help citizens regain self-sufficiency.

“This gift is a real shot-in-the-arm and a Godsend for Good Neighbors, as in this month alone of March 2020, Good Neighbors has already heard from 102 households – 53 in the last five days alone, which is double the norm,” said Good Neighbors Executive Director Rev. Lisa Blackwood

“So far, the average we have spent per household has been $262 in emergency aid – in some cases, with interventions that included utility trucks in people’s apartment parking lots ready to cut off their power due to an overdue bill – which Good Neighbors was able to help prevent,” Blackwood said.

“The storm of overwhelming need is brewing, and Good Neighbors has been stacking our funds alongside COVID funds in order to serve our neighbors,” she said. “I estimate that at the current rate of need – and bearing in mind that the rate may increase dramatically in the coming weeks – Good Neighbors will serve 130-170 households, which might carry us through another five or six weeks as we continue stacking our own funds and using this generous gift solely for COVID-related cases.  We continue to meet with neighbors who are struggling for other reasons and will continue to serve them from our general funds.”

The #COVIDgiveWhereYouLive awareness campaign stems from a long-running “Give Where You Live” community-philanthropy promotion that ETF has managed for years, in helping donors across ETF’s 25-county footprint to identify specific ways to support charitable giving in the grassroots communities where they live and work.

“This announcement – starting at the grassroots with Good Neighbors of Blount County – is now part of a larger awareness campaign that we at East Tennessee Foundation wish to ignite about the urgent necessity for individuals with any capacity to give to community charities to do so – whether at a $5 level, $500 level or more, during this time of sudden global crisis,” McClamroch said. “I'm also happy to announce, when a gift is made to East Tennessee Foundation's Neighbor to Neighbor Disaster Relief Fund at etf.org/N2N, we will match that gift up to $50,000.”

As COVID-19’s public-health and economic impact has begun to surge – including in the state of Tennessee– the nonprofit world is among the sectors particularly hard-hit, and the impact includes not only the ability of non-profits to provide vital services to people in need but also to maintain their staff employment and their own purchases in communities to help support local economies.

“As a voice for philanthropic advocacy, we urge all community foundations nationwide in the U.S. as well as worldwide to join us in a #COVIDgiveWhereYouLive message, to encourage, broker and facilitate locally-based, community giving – as well as volunteerism – that directly benefit grassroots cities, towns and rural areas alike,” McClamroch said.

“The coronavirus pandemic knows no geographic boundaries and has a lot of folks feeling fear and powerlessness right now. There is no better way to reclaim a positive mindset than through the self-empowerment of philanthropic support – whether through a financial donation or simple volunteering, which in many ways can be done from home, in compliance with social distancing – such as we’ve seen with people sewing medical masks and garments for their local hospitals,” McClamroch said.

ETF encourages all citizens, non-profits and corporations to contribute their own philanthropy success stories in social media using the hashtag, #COVIDgiveWhereYouLive, and tag a favorite charity. According to ETF, volunteerism success stories are just as important as monetary success stories.

More information can be located about Good Neighbors of Blount County at goodneighborsbc.org and about East Tennessee Foundation at easttennesseefoundation.org

For nationwide resources, donors should contact their local, regional or statewide community foundations for guidance and access to credible, legitimate giving opportunities and consult the Council on Foundations online COVID-19 Resource Hub (https://www.cof.org/news/covid-19-resource-hub) and the National Council of Nonprofits’ COVID-19 website: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/nonprofits-and-coronavirus-covid-19.