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Cleveland-area nonprofits get money to survive and adapt after COVID outbreak

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Posted at 12:59 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 19:20:38-04

CLEVELAND — While Ohio businesses continue to open up again, Ohio non-profits are finding they also need a helping hand to keep doing their work.

That’s why the Union Home Mortgage Foundation created a special two-week grant period, ultimately sending out $52,500 to non-profits around greater Cleveland and in other parts of the country.

The money was sent out as follows:

Like millions of Americans who are now unemployed, Deanna had a job before the coronavirus outbreak that helped her provide for her and her daughter.

When the coronavirus forced Ohio to shut down much of the state’s economy, Deanna was temporarily laid off.

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Deanna and her daughter.

“They said, ‘Hey, we’re going to unfortunately let you guys go. We’re going to let you know when we’re going to reopen and reposition you guys as such,'” Deanna says her metal fabrication employer told her.

In her moment of need, Deanna turned to the nonprofit organization Towards Employment, which helps people like Deanna not only pull together a resume, but learn job skills, and how to become a better employee.

“Without Towards Employment, I would probably have no skill set,” said Deanna.

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Deanna says her income has to support her and her daughter, making it important for her to work through the coronavirus outbreak after losing her job.

But right when Deanna needed help, so did the organization she turned to.

“Some of our funding stream has continued, but others have dropped off dramatically while the need is still there,” said Towards Employment Executive Director Jill Rizika.

That’s when the Union Home Mortgage Foundation, the philanthropy arm of Strongsville’s Union Home Mortgage, decided to step in.

“Not only were programs being canceled because a lot of them were in schools, we also saw major fundraising or revenue streams were being canceled,” said Union Home Mortgage Foundation Executive Director Christina Fagan.

The two-week window resulted in $52,500 being given out to nonprofits the foundation had supported in the past to help them through the outbreak and disruptions in fundraising.

At Towards Employment, Rizika says they’re gearing up for a hectic return to work with record unemployment numbers and plenty of workers who will need new skills.

“This is not going away,” said Rizika. “Building these digital skills, giving them the tools is going to be essential even as we move forward.”

It’s enabling Towards Employment to take part in national initiatives like Give Together Now, where $62,000 was given directly to 125 families struggling during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Stand Together Foundation and the Family Independence Initiative created a rapid response fund that provides families with $500 in cash to respond to their family’s immediate needs. It is theirs to use as needed,” read the effort’s press release.

Since Towards Employment is still working, it was able to help Deanna find a temporary job until she can get back to the one she had before the outbreak.

Being employed helps her keep her job, provide for her and her daughter, and set a good example along the way.

“She understands that I have her best interests at heart, even when I make her do a little bit of math,” said Deanna.

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.