The WBOP COVID-19 Fund (closed)
At the onset of Covid-19, as the country went into lockdown, funders in the Western Bay of Plenty rallied and very quickly came together to establish a new rapid response fund to support community groups who were experiencing increased demand and/or funding shortfall as a result of the pandemic.
The funders, who collectively pooled funds to create the WBOP Rapid Response Fund, included TECT, BayTrust, Acorn Foundation and Tauranga City Council.
The fund then moved into 'Phase 2 - Recovery' to support Western Bay of Plenty community groups to recover and survive the medium-term impact of Covid-19.
To read about and hear from some of the organisations supported by the WBOP Covid-19 Fund, click here.
For details on phases 1 and 2 of the fund, keep reading below.
Initial Rapid Response Phase
Funders in the Western Bay of Plenty rallied and very quickly came together to establish a new rapid response fund to support community groups who were experiencing increased demand and/or funding shortfall as a result of COVID-19.
The funders, who collectively pooled funds totalling $600,000 to create the WBOP Rapid Response Fund included TECT, BayTrust, Acorn Foundation and Tauranga City Council.
TECT General Manager, Wayne Werder, said at the time “Through this funding we will support those community groups protecting and caring for the most vulnerable in our community. As we are all individually taking steps to protect ourselves, families and colleagues from the effects of the virus, let’s not forget the impact this will have on our neighbours; those unwell, unsafe, with no shelter and lack of access to food and essential supplies. These are realities that many in our region are facing and will continue to face in the coming weeks.”
Groups who were providing essential services as defined by the government were the first to be invited to make an application to the Rapid Response Fund before it was opened up to the wider not-for-profit sector. Others eligible to apply included groups that faced a significant funding shortfall, saw an increase in demand or faced additional costs in enabling them to adapt their service delivery to meet the restrictions of the government’s Alert Level system.
“We are committed to working together to get this funding where it is needed most, to pay grants quickly and upfront, and to adapt to evolving community needs in order to support gaps not covered by government funding,” said Lori Luke, Acorn Foundation General Manager. “This collective commitment of funders is a testament to our dedication to our region and a recognition that we can amplify our impact by working together.”
Tauranga City Council Mayor Tenby Powell said it was vitally important we support community groups which were working with those who were not able to meet all of their own needs during the pandemic lockdown. “It is crucial that we give our region’s community groups the resources they need to help our more vulnerable people deal with the Covid-19 emergency, while we continue to work on longer-term mechanisms to counteract the economic and social implications” said Tenby.
Phase 2: Recovery
While the initial Rapid Response Fund launched by local funders in April was to provide emergency support, Phase 2 was implemented to aid the recovery phase; enabling the longer-term rebuild of the community sector.
The fund was part two of a three-phase approach planned by the funders. While the first phase aimed to support groups facing immediate challenges created by Covid-19, the second phase supported the medium-term recovery, and the third phase will support the longer-term resilience and reinvention of the sector.
BayTrust Chief Executive Alastair Rhodes said the funders were pleased with the feedback they received from successful Rapid Response Funding recipients, with many stating they appreciated the speed and ease of the process.
“The first phase has been really successful. We supported 33 community groups, and established a system of collaboration with other local funders that has enabled a single application and quick turn-around of approvals. We will continue with a similar approach through phases two and three.”
Ex Tauranga City Council Mayor Tenby Powell said many community groups in the region have faced an increased demand for services, inability to fundraise, and need to adapt service delivery to operate safely. “All of these impacts have forced community groups to think outside the box. We are seeing incredible examples of collaboration, adaptation of service, and innovative approaches to address the challenges arising from Covid-19. But these come at a cost and we are keen to help our community providers deliver great outcomes by providing joint financial assistance with other local funders. That support will lead to our region coming out stronger on the other side of this crisis.”
Acorn Foundation General Manager Lori Luke said the fund, which was valued at $777,000, would ensure the continuity of support services people rely on in our region. “We have made it through the initial disruption of lockdown, and now it is time to regroup. We can’t know for sure what the full impact of Covid-19 will be for our community, but by ensuring our community groups are well resourced, we can be confident of their continued service delivery.”
Not-for-profits and non-governmental organisations in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty were eligible to apply to the fund. Priority was given to groups that provided services most likely to have a positive influence on longer-term recovery.
The fund complemented government agency support provided for Covid-19 responses, and was not for business as usual operations. Applications for any business as usual operational costs can continue to be made directly with each funder.