Fletcher Foundation, Martha Pappas donations lead COVID-19 fundraising effort

📸 Kathy Rodriguez file photo for The Citizen Chronicle. Face mask made locally by Yolanda Hatzidis.

WORCESTER — The Worcester Together: Central Mass COVID-19 Fund announced today that it reached a new milestone of $5 million in donations raised. The fund, a joint effort between the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the United Way of Central Massachusetts, in collaboration with the City of Worcester, is supporting the needs of local organizations working with communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in Worcester County.

A number of factors contributed to achieving the new milestone, including the recently announced “Facemask Challenge” and several generous donors who made significant contributions in the last few days. These include:

  • Fletcher Foundation – $200,000
  • Martha Pappas – $100,000

Warner Fletcher, Chairman of the Worcester-based Fletcher Foundation, said he hoped that their recent grant, which followed those of other foundations, would encourage others in the community to step forward with support.

“The Worcester Together Fund is doing critically important work in these unprecedented times to help our community respond to COVID-19 and its painful fallout, both short term and over the longer term, as well,” Fletcher added.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our many donors large and small who are stepping up each day to meet the challenge of helping our community recover,” said Tim Garvin, CEO of the United Way of Central Massachusetts. “Our response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be a marathon, and we are inspired to know that our donors are in it for the long-run.”

Donations to the recently announced “Facemask Challenge” also helped push the fund past $5 million. Modeled after the Ice Bucket Challenge, the goal is to raise awareness of Worcester’s needs and raise money for Worcester Together. The social media challenge asks people to take selfies of themselves wearing their favorite face masks, and tag their friends and family to encourage them to donate to the Worcester Together Fund.

“This milestone speaks to the determination and solidarity of our community in the face of the outbreak,” said Barbara Fields, President and CEO of GWCF. “We are grateful for our donors who continually step up to the needs of the community.”

“We have a long road ahead of us,” Fields added.

Grants from the Worcester Together fund will target organizations with deep roots in the community. Many of these groups serve residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, people with limited English language proficiency, healthcare workers and seniors, among others.

Worcester Together has already granted a total of $732,759 to 51 organizations. The Fund will continue to make grants on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis.

Worcester Together invites philanthropies, businesses, individuals and other donors to contribute to the fund at www.greaterworcester.org and www.unitedwaycm.org. In addition, Worcester Together urges donors to look for opportunities to support the critical needs of nonprofits by making general operating support grants to organizations they wish to help.

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