Area banks have pledged more than $1 million to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on Cape Cod and the islands.
Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank and the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank Charitable Foundation created a $625,000 coronavirus relief package to support the Falmouth and Martha's Vineyard communities.
"One of the more unsettling features of the coronavirus is its speed," said James M. Anthony, president and CEO of Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank. "Everything is changing so rapidly that no one can reasonably predict the long-term impact. We are acting quickly to respond to the threat and these programs represent this initial action. We do not see this as the entirety of our response."
Of $625,000, $150,000 was distributed to cover immediate needs in the community, with another $350,000 to be distributed further throughout April. In addition, $125,000 was used to create and fund a "Lift Certificates" program, which will provide a short-term revenue boost to small businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic.
"We are a community bank, built to support local individuals, families, small businesses and charitable organizations, and we will continue to plan and implement ways to support Martha’s Vineyard and Falmouth in the difficult months ahead," Mr. Anthony said. "We are all in this together."
Half of the $500,000 pledged by Cape Cod 5 has been distributed for local relief efforts, including $125,000 split among 12 food pantries, $50,000 for Needy Fund's Cape & Islands Major Crisis Relief Fund, and $25,000 apiece for the Community Foundation of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard Community Services and the South Shore Community Action Council.
"At Cape Cod 5, we recognize the extraordinary nature of this pandemic, and the challenges and hardships it has caused for so many in our region," Cape Cod 5 CEO and chairwoman Dorothy Savarese said. "As a local business and corporate citizen, we are committed to assisting our neighbors in any way we can, and we challenge others to do the same. These initial philanthropic donations, as well as our community banking initiatives, are intended to help alleviate some of the most-emergent and -pressing issues facing members of our communities during this time."
The challenge extends to Cape Cod 5's matching grant program. The bank will match up to $100,000 in community support for seven healthcare organizations, including Cape Cod Healthcare, the Community Health Center of Cape Cod, the Outer Cape Health Services, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Martha's Vineyard Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Plymouth and the Southcoast Tobey Hospital.
"Doctors, nurses and all healthcare workers are putting themselves on the front lines of this pandemic in order to protect our communities," Ms. Savarese said. "There is urgent need for financial support of their efforts, and we are challenging all those in the community who are able to give to consider doing so. Together, we can provide much-needed assistance as hospitals and healthcare centers prepare for a surge in COVID-19 patients."
In addition, the bank will match an additional $25,000 on top of its existing employee donation match program.
The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod Charitable Foundation Trust have also contributed to the fundraising efforts, pledging $200,000 in community aid. The bank distributed $25,000 to the Major Crisis Relief Fund and Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation; $20,000 to Cape & Islands United Way, The Cape Cod Foundation Strategic Emergency Response Fund and the Workforce Housing Relief Fund of Housing Assistance Corporation; and $10,000 to Community Health Center of Cape Cod, Duffy Health Center, Harbor Community Health Center, and Outer Cape Health Centers.
The remaining $50,000 will be available in micro-grants to nonprofits that are directly serving COVID-19-related needs in the community, and whose clients are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic consequences of this outbreak. An application for these micro-grants is available on the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod website.