The COVID-19 Community Response Fund, hosted by the Athens Area Community Foundation in partnership with United Way of Northeast Georgia, announced its fourth round of grant distributions to the 14 school systems in the 12-county region, including the Barrow County School System, last week.

The latest round of disbursements totaled $72,000, split evenly among the 14 school districts.

“The school systems are facing a multitude of expenses like necessary PPE, thermometers, and cleaning and sanitation supplies for return to classrooms, as well as resources like tablets, wireless hotspots and more for virtual learning potentials,” leaders said. “Students in all of the region’s counties and cities faced a sudden departure from in-person learning during the most recent school year, disrupting the education of local kids. As a result, students are facing a drop in learning beyond the standard summer slump, and with the unknowns of the 2020-21 school year, school systems are facing more needs than ever.

“The grants from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund allows the school systems to use the funds to ensure safe and healthy ways to teach and educate their students.”

The Athens Area Community Foundation and United Way of Northeast were assisted with the financial stewardship of more than 380 individuals, organizations and businesses. Major gifts and contributions came from the Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation; the CareSource Foundation; First American Bank & Trust; the Foundation for the Carolinas; the Georgia Power Foundation, Ross and Leigh Campbell with Georgia Skin Cancer & Aesthetic Dermatology; South State Bank; The Caterpillar Foundation; The Huffer Foundation; The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation; Truist; Zeist Foundation; and Athens Area Community Foundation Fundholders.

The fund is still open and accepting donations. Anyone can help by making a donation to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. 

To make a donation, go to www.athensareacf.org. Funds will be granted to highest needs areas and to organizations based on data and community insights and assessments, according to a news release.

The funding will not be restricted to current United Way of Northeast Georgia — or other collective nonprofit-funded organizations.

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