Kern Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief fund

Mariah Arviso, Reporter

The Kern Community Foundation (KCF) received a generous donation of $26,000 from Valley Strong Credit Union for COVID-19 relief on April 27.  

The fund was launched on March 17 and since then, there has been $445,000 worth of donations. With the additional donation from the Valley Strong Credit Union, the total amount of donations has exceeded $471,000.  

“Valley Strong Credit Union has been a major contributor to the Kern County COVID-19 Relief Fund, having contributed $100,000 in late March for Kern County nonprofits and then another $25,500 in early April for Tulare County nonprofits,” KCF President, Kristen Beall Watson said. “The Aera Energy Fund was the first [to donate.] These donations generated 71 requests for funding and the Valley Strong team made sure that every request received funds. For them to step up and contribute an additional $26,000 was completely unexpected.” 

The Aera Energy Fund was the first to contribute to the fund, followed by the Pacific Gas and Electric company, Nestle Purina Petcare Factory and Kern Family Health Care. There were also numerous anonyms donators. These donations allowed for nearly $300,000 worth of funding to go to local nonprofits with $100,000 more going out within the week. 

“By far the most challenging aspect of this project is that funding needs far exceed available resources – over $1.6 million has been requested to date. We had originally intended to provide funding to local nonprofits who were serving vulnerable populations, as well as assist nonprofits who were facing operational shortfalls because of cancelled fundraisers and diminished revenue streams. Unfortunately, we have only been able to focus on resources to vulnerable populations and basic needs (food, shelter, and safety),” Watson said. 

With the donations that came in, KCF has focused on providing the basic necessities for those who have been less fortunate due to the pandemic. As donations grow and continue to come in, Watson is hopeful that KCF will be able to provide “operational support for nonprofits.”  

“Never before have we seen the community contribute so significantly. It truly is a testament to the ‘Giving Spirit of Kern County’,” Watson said.