Geoff called Anne Arundel County, Maryland, home for the last 23 years of his life. After his death, the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) provided invaluable guidance and resources to help us establish the EWE Spirit Foundation in his memory. Its Donor Advised Fund program enabled us to hit the ground running, raising and granting funds while our 501(c)(3) paperwork was processed. So, giving back to CFAAC in our first round of grantmaking was a logical choice. We decided to support its Community Crisis Response Fund, which aligns perfectly with EWE Spirit’s mission. The fund makes fast, flexible grants during unprecedented times of crisis to support the critical and evolving needs of the county’s residents.
In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Crisis Response Fund granted desperately needed funds to 130 nonprofits assisting local residents adversely affected by the health and economic crisis. These groups:
Distributed food, including farm-fresh produce, to seniors, children, low-income and homeless people via food pantries, “pop-up” distribution events and delivery services throughout the county.
Provided scholarships to send low-income children to summer camp so their parents could return to work.
Delivered essential items, such as water and toiletries, to homeless residents.
Provided prescriptions and transportation assistance to low-income seniors.
Financially assisted residents struggling to pay their rent and/or utility bills.
Supplied families with emergency diapers, transportation, medicine, baby formula and baby food.
Organized tutoring and STEM classes to supplement students’ e-learning and fill their unstructured time.
“It’s hard to imagine a more difficult time for our county’s nonprofits,” says Mary Spencer, CFAAC President & CEO. The increased need stretched budgets, “yet these nonprofits need to be on the front lines every day providing essential programs and services. They need all the help they can get to continue their important work in the community."
See some of these nonprofits in action in this video from June 2020.
In 2021, the Community Crisis Response Fund shifted its focus to helping nonprofits recover from the pandemic’s heavy toll and begin to build resilience in preparation for future crises. This includes support for projects designed to improve systems for food security, violence prevention, medical care access (for example, providing transportation to vaccination sites), childcare and education.
We’re so grateful for everything this fund is doing for our community, and we know Geoff would support its work wholeheartedly.