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Emergency charity appeal raises $1.1m

More than $1 million has been pledged to an emergency fund set up to help people get through the Covid-19 crisis, it was revealed yesterday.

The appeal was launched to help support charities and their work to provide essential services to people in need.

Myra Virgil, the managing director of the Bermuda Community Foundation, which set up the Bermuda Emergency Fund a month ago, said: “This is a massive tribute to the generosity of the community.

“We knew that non-profit organisations were going to be required to meet some basic needs for the community — such as food, shelter and safety.

“We also knew that many people would want to donate funds to help, so it made sense to create a specific fund to make it easier.

“The core business of the BCF is setting up and managing philanthropic funds, so we were ideally positioned to do this.”

Dr Virgil added: “This weekend the Emergency Fund reached $1.1 million. And remember, this is by no means the total that has been given to help the community.

She said that contributions came from about 100 people and 34 companies.

Dr Virgil added: “Others have given directly to specific non-profit organisations — the corporate world has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase personal protective equipment and ventilators for the hospital, the Government is providing assistance to the thousands of people laid off because of the pandemic.

“In addition, we are all hearing the stories of individuals helping individuals — giving money and support, employers continuing to pay staff even when they can't work, because they know they are otherwise putting people into profound difficulty.”

Dr Virgil said the cash was allocated based on information from members of the Third Sector Co-ordinated Crisis Response Effort, a group of funders and non-profit representatives that joined to make sure there would be a co-ordinated approach to the crisis.

The CCRE, formed last month, includes the Bank of Bermuda Foundation, the Bermuda Health Council, the Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families, Age Concern and two independent non-profit consultants, as well as the BCF.

Dr Virgil said: “It's a privilege to be part of this group.

“BCF has expertise in fund management and grant making, but those were not the only skills and capacities needed and we are a lean team.

“We all separately realised that this work in this context was going to require our combined brainpower and resources to be effective.

“As a group we had the best chance to make substantive impact.”

Dr Virgil and Vivien Carter, the Bank of Bermuda Foundation's director of programmes, represent the CCRE on the Emergency Measures Organisation's disaster reduction and risk recovery team.

Dr Virgil added: “At this point, 92 per cent of the Emergency Fund has been allocated or deployed to the non-profits that are supporting individuals in the community.

“More funds will be needed, and we urge those who can help to donate.

“There's an awful lot of need in our community right now, and we do not know how long this situation will last.”

Dr Virgil told potential donors: “Remember, 100 per cent of the money you donate goes to our community in need. Thank you so much.”

For more information about the Emergency Fund visit bcf.bm. To learn more about the CCRE visit facebook.com/ThirdSector CoordinatedCrisisResponseEffort

Myra Virgil (File photograph)

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Published April 21, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 21, 2020 at 9:02 am)

Emergency charity appeal raises $1.1m

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