The spread of the covid-19 virus has had both a health and economic impact on the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and northeast Tennessee which comprise Rotary District 7570.  The district and its clubs have responded to the crisis in several ways. 

In April, district leadership identified $10,000 in district grant funds and $10,265 in operating account funds that could be devoted to club projects addressing local needs arising from the spread of the virus.  An expedited process was implemented to allow clubs to apply to the district for funds that could be either used by the clubs for their own projects or donated to widespread efforts in their communities.  The deadline for applications was May 1, and awards were announced on May 15.  The projects were completed by June 15.

District 7570 awarded grants to seventeen clubs ranging in amount from $710 to $1400, totaling $20,265, from district grant and operating funds.  In addition,  the district informed seven clubs that their projects would be included in the district’s 2020-21 district grant and that expenses they incurred, totaling $4,400, would be reimbursed by the district if the district grant is awarded.  The district hopes to take advantage of the Foundation’s decision to allow expenses incurred after March 15 for covid-19 relief to be reimbursable from 2020-21 district grants.

Many different needs were addressed by the special grants.  Some were for PPE and hand sanitizer at clinics and public facilities, many addressed increased food insecurity,  some  addressed the disruptions in the education system, and others helped with emergency child care needs.    All were designed to make an immediate impact in the clubs’ communities.

In addition to the grant program, District 7570 successfully applied for a Rotary Disaster Response Grant that will provide a total of $25,000 for the three food whose geographical footprints encompass District 7570’s area.  They are Greater Blue Ridge Food Bank, Feeding Southwest Virginia, and Second Harvest of Northeast Tennessee. The demand on them has skyrocketed since March while sources of food such as food drives and grocery store donations have dropped.  The district had contributed $10,000 in DDF to the Foundation’s Disaster Response Fund.

The district expects to provide further support for efforts to respond to needs which have arisen from the pandemic as its regular grant program is carried out this summer.  Applications for district matching grants have been extended this year to July 31 from the usual June 15 due to disruptions and uncertainty created by the virus, and many grant proposals are likely to be directed to relief for needs directly related to it.