Washington Nonprofits recently had the opportunity to connect with Sharon Miracle, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley Community Foundation. Sharon shared their success story of assisting Yakima County in allocating CARES Act funding to nonprofits in the Yakima Valley. Sharon told us that, Yakima County was just one week away from their spending deadline and had $3 million dollars left to spend. She said they had no idea how to work with the local nonprofit sector. In just seven days spanning the Thanksgiving weekend, the Yakima Valley Community Foundation was able to establish an agreement with the county, connect with key nonprofits in the area, establish a simple online application form, create grant agreements to meet the federal guidelines, and allocate grants to many organizations in the community including the Yakima Visitor and Convention Center, Yakima YMCA Family Aquatic Center, and the Central Washington Fair Association. The Fair Association funding was vital as this organization is the single largest contributor of tax revenue to the Yakima community. Losing this nonprofit could have led to dramatic county budget cuts. They also allocated a $1 million grant to Northwest Harvest to help them continue to supply local area food banks.
The Yakima Valley Community Foundation has acted to influence other relief funding as well. They worked closely with the Washington State Department of Commerce and their philanthropic partner, Philanthropy Northwest, to identify BIPOC-led organizations in Central Washington to be considered to receive Equity Relief Funds.