Foundation creates rapid response fund to support nonprofit efforts

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In the wake of economic devastation caused by the threat of a coronavirus outbreak, the Ventura County Community Foundation has launched a new fund depository to support nonprofits that provide essential services like food, housing, child care, eldercare and mental health care.

The so-called Rapid Response Fund for Ventura County has been created with aid from the County of Ventura, Amgen Foundation, Southeast Ventura County YMCA, Give an Hour, and the Economic Development Collaborative, according to a statement from Vanessa Bechtel, the community foundation’s CEO.

“While public health officials are working diligently to prepare for and respond to COVID-19, VCCF’s Rapid Response Fund makes financial support available to those organizations experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, and to enable these organizations to maintain and increase services,” Bechtel said.

Mike Powers, Ventura County CEO, thanked the organizations involved in the fund’s creation.

“During difficult times, it is wonderful to have so many community partners throughout our county who continue to give in profound and generous ways,” Powers said in a statement. “Recent emergencies in our region have demonstrated our resiliency and strength of community. As this situation continues to evolve, the Rapid Response Fund will be powerful in meeting the needs of so many.”

One of the beneficiaries of the fund, Give an Hour, offers free mental health services. The nonprofit has been highly active in the region since 2018’s mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill.

“We encourage all to pay attention to your emotional wellness through this stressful time,” said Kirsti Thompson, chief development officer for Give an Hour California.

As a result of the fund, the YMCA, closed through March 31, will be offering financial assistance to nonprofits in need. Those seeking funds are asked to call Megan Glynn, chief development officer, at (805) 497-3081, ext. 1008.

“The Southeast Ventura County YMCA understands the impact across our region will be vast,” said Ronnie Stone, the Y president/ CEO. “We are honored to work closely with the Ventura County Community Foundation to provide financial assistance and support during these difficult times.”

Bruce Stenslie, president and CEO of the Economic Development Collaborative, said the organization and its Small Business Development Center will remain open throughout this crisis.

“While our primary concern of course is for our community’s individual and public health, we’re also very concerned about the health of our businesses and economy,” Stenslie said. “At the same time, as we adhere to safe practices in hygiene, we also encourage everyone to keep spending with our local businesses, contributing to their survival and investing in our economic resilience.”

To support the Rapid Response Fund, VCCF welcomes financial contributions from individuals, organizations, companies and institutions. Donations can be made at

The foundation will not take any administrative fees from this fund—100% of donations will be awarded based on the criteria of the fund, Bechtel said.

For more information, go to or call (805) 330-6676.

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