TUPELO • Eligible nonprofits and food pantries are encouraged to finish their grant applications for the Community Foundation COVID-19 CARES grant before the deadline. The final deadline for eligible nonprofits and food pantries is Friday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m.

As part of the Community Foundations (CF) COVID-19 Grant Program established during the 2020 legislative session and administered by the Mississippi Development Authority, a total of $4 million for nonprofit entities and an additional $4 million for food pantries is to be provided through the state’s seven community foundations.

The CREATE Foundation oversees $1.6 million, split $786,261 for nonprofits and $786,261 for food pantries, to be allocated to 21 counties. The maximum funding available for each organization is $12,000, an increase from a previous maximum of $4,000.

There was a previous deadline to create an account on Dec. 15, and Toyota Wellspring / CREATE Project Manager Stewart McMillan said in a press release that she hoped all organizations that met the deadline to create an account will apply.

“The CREATE Foundation, Inc. team has 62 eligible food pantries and 170 eligible nonprofits, but we have only received 137 applications as of January 11 instead of the 232 applications if all eligible organizations apply,” Stewart said in a press release.

Among submitted grant applications, 64 were approved in Alcorn (5), Calhoun (1), Clay (2), Lafayette (10), Lee (19), Lowndes (17), Monroe (3), and Oktibbeha (7).

The CREATE Foundation team would be able to allocate 196 grants in both categories (392 grants total) if all applicants applied for the $4,000 maximum or 65 grants in both categories (130 grants total) if all applicants applied for the $12,000 maximum.

All organizations are encouraged to apply by the deadline, and the CREATE team will contact an organization if any edits to the submitted applications are needed. The CREATE Foundation, Inc. team partnered with the United Way organizations and the Volunteer Hubs in an attempt to offer support with the application process.

Rebecca Nelson, Director of Volunteer Northeast Mississippi, is available the week of Jan. 11-15 to offer support to applicants in the process of applying. She recognizes the difference the CARES reimbursements can make for a nonprofit.

"The work our nonprofits do is incredibly important. We want them to have all the resources they can get to be successful and to serve their clients the best way they can. The CARES application is not difficult, and the effort to complete it will be worthwhile," Nelson said in a press release.

Applications for a grant must be completed online through the grant’s portal at www.mscaresgrant.com, which is accessible via all web browsers except for Internet Explorer. A list of the counties assigned to each community foundation can be found at www.mscaresgrant.com.

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