Two local funds have been created to help people in need during the coronavirus pandemic to which we can contribute.

The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation has opened an emergency fund to respond to the rising needs of GIPS students, staff and families. The foundation board contributed $10,000 to seed the fund and is receiving contributions from the community.

“Because of the GIPS Foundation’s experience with meeting individual needs as well as larger scale needs in the school district, we are uniquely positioned to help our students, families and staff,” said Kirk Ramsey, president of the GIPS Foundation Board.

The fund is open for the public to contribute to on the GIPS Foundation website at and also by mailing a contribution to GIPS Foundation Emergency Fund, PO Box 4904, Grand Island, NE 68802.

Additionally, the GIPS Foundation will seek matching dollars from other sources.

The Heartland United Way and the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation partnered to launch the COVID-19 Community Compassion Fund to help organizations and individuals most in need of assistance.

The lead gift for the fund of $20,000 came from CHI Health St. Francis in Grand Island.

“We are concerned about populations most at-risk of losing vital income to support their families, experiencing job loss, and going without basic needs during this quarantine,” said Heartland United Way President Karen Rathke. “We will work with and through our nonprofit and community partners to provide critical services and support and where necessary, provide direct assistance to individuals and families.”

An ad hoc advisory committee is being formed with community leaders who will work with staff from both organizations to advise on the direction and implementation of support to address the needs in the community.

Donations can be made to the fund in the following ways:

— Donate online at and click on COVID-19 Community Compassion Fund.

— Text HEARTLANDUW to 56651 to make a donation to the fund.

— Checks may be sent to the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation or Heartland United Way.

— Donor Advised Funds should be directed to the COVID-19 Community Compassion Fund.

All donations to this fund except for processing fees will be used to help individuals and organizations in the area who have been impacted by the pandemic.

Those in need of immediate assistance can contact United Way’s free information and referral service by calling 2-1-1 or by visiting

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