Since March 2020, COVID-19 has profoundly impacted our world.
Saskatoon Community Foundation grants, donations, and federal programs totaled $2.23M in funding for the local COVID-19 community response.
The closure of community services in Saskatoon during the crisis made it difficult for many people to access basic needs, food, shelter, and safety. Even self-isolation was a challenge for some people. Services normally provided by charitable organizations, civic facilities, and businesses were unavailable or limited. The most vulnerable people in Saskatoon had no place to sleep, no place to get warm, and no access to washroom facilities.
Agencies Collaborate for a Rapid Response
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, organizations and individuals working with the most vulnerable braced for a devastating impact. The community of help and expertise coalesced rapidly. In only two weeks, a coalition of 60 plus organizations was formed, the Saskatoon Inter-Agency Response to COVID-19 (SIRC).
The group worked together to ensure needs would be met. A command structure and working groups were formed for key areas of need, plus communications, allocations, logistics, and finance. Among other tasks, the group’s work involved purchasing and distributing personal protective equipment, maintaining access to shelter and food, communicating safety guidelines to community organizations still operating, providing technology and connectivity, and advocating with the provincial and federal government resources needed in Saskatoon.
SIRC showed Saskatoon what can be accomplished with the will to make it happen.
The personal and professional commitment of collaborators providing a well-coordinated, useful, timely response…has reduced hardship and saved lives.–Colleen Christopherson-Cote, SIRC
Community Response Fund
Saskatoon Community Foundation worked in partnership with the United Way of Saskatoon and Area to raise funds for relief work, creating the Saskatoon COVID-19 Response Fund to accept donations.
The foundation committed $100,000 in unrestricted funds, and received major funding from the City of Saskatoon, Nutrien, the Stephen and Michelene Worobetz Foundation, the Lawson Foundation, and other supporters.
More than $800,000 has been raised in the community for water, containers, cleaning supplies, PPE, emergency staffing, cultural supports, connectivity supports, and other urgent needs.
A generous anonymous donor provided $385,000 to address unmet community needs for the COVID-19 response.