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Update on help given to third sector

The Bank of Bermuda Foundation has handed out a total of $132,500 to support pandemic emergency services, it said today.The charitable foundation has backed food programmes, the provision of emergency shelter, mental health services, medicine deliveries and given laptops to public schools over the crisis.The foundation said cash was allocated direct to good causes, as well as through the Bermuda Emergency Fund.A spokesman added the organisation had provided emergency funding in less than three business days in response to the impact of the crisis on non-profit groups that supplied essential services.He said the pandemic highlighted the “fragility of funding” for the charity sector, but also underlined the value of collaboration.Vivien Carter, director of programmes for the foundation, added the partnership had resulted in the creation of the third sector Coordinated Crisis Response Effort.She said the work of the CCRE, which was formed in March, had focused on gaps in services.Ms Carter said the foundation had also encouraged other charitable funds to support their traditional non-profit groups in areas such as education, the arts, sports and training programmes, to help the island after it emerged from pandemic restrictions.The foundation completed its first grant cycle of 2020 two days after the island’s borders were closed on March 19.It gave out more than $1 million to non-profit groups — many of them left unable to deliver their usual programmes over the crisis.The foundation said grant applications would be accepted to May 31.The spokesman added “coordinated community efforts” were vital for people who worked in non-profit organisations so they could continue to deliver services.The foundation’s board held a strategy meeting yesterday today and said it would highlight further efforts to support charities in “the very near future”.