United Way of Western Nebraska serving Box Butte and Dawes Counties is among the first round of recipients of a COVID-19 relief fund established by First National Bank of Omaha.
In a news release, FNBO will award more than $3 million in community development grants and impact investments to 27 organizations in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas, including $10,000 to the Alliance-based non-profit, providing relief to individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Alec Gorynski, Vice President, Community Development and Corporate Philanthropy. FNBO’s community investment strategy focuses on affordable housing, workforce and small business development; the bank’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with that strategy by focusing on housing, workforce and small business stability to get through this crisis.
“During this pandemic, our community focus remains strong and FNBO is committed to doing its part to mitigate the financial impact of this virus on our communities,” Gorynski said. “Therefore, we are providing financial support to nonprofit organizations that are addressing both the short-term needs and long-term impact to individuals and small businesses.”
The first round of grants supports organizations providing housing stability programs. With businesses closing or unable to operate at full scale, workers are seeing hours cut and being furloughed or laid off. This may leave individuals and families unable to pay mortgage or rent and struggling to stay in their homes. These grants are being awarded to nonprofit organizations that are helping families remain stable and healthy in their homes by providing financial assistance for rent, mortgage, utilities and other needs, such as food and living expenses. Recipients include:
United Way of Western Nebraska, Alliance – $10,000
United Way of Larimer County, Fort Collins – $15,000
United Way of Weld County, Greeley – $10,000
In addition, Gorynski said FNBO has contributed $2.75 million in impact investments into community loan funds across the bank’s footprint that are providing small businesses with COVID-19 relief loans. These community loan funds are held and managed by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that provide under-served businesses access to capital. CDFIs receiving FNBO impact investments include:
Colorado Enterprise Fund, Denver, Colo. – $1.5 million to provide funding for small business relief loans in Northern Colorado.
DreamSpring, Denver, Colo. – $1 million to provide funding for small business relief loans in Northern Colorado.
AltCap, Kansas City, Missouri – $250,000 for a COVID-19 small business relief loan fund for distressed small businesses in the Kansas City area.
Gorynski also announced another round of grants, to be awarded later this spring, will focus on workforce stability. With the surge in unemployment and the changing employment market, many individuals may not have the skills and capabilities to easily re-enter the workforce when the crisis is over. These grants will be awarded to organizations providing individuals with essential workforce development services to enhance their chances for employment. For more information, visit www.fnbo.com/community/
The full news release can be read here.