Winona foundation starts COVID-19 relief fund

Effort aims to provide $120,000 in direct assistance
Winona Foundation

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) – The Winona Community Foundation has established a COVID-19 Relief Fund, in addition to its existing Emergency Assistance Fund.
The existing fund has provided emergency aid to individuals and families in Winona, Houston and Fillmore counties since anonymous donors created it in 2003, said foundation Chairman Bob Deter.
“Because this fund has some restrictions, the board felt establishing a separate COVID-19 Relief Fund was the best way to allow for flexibility and to respond more broadly to the community’s needs,” Deter said.
The new fund will pump donated money back into the community, expand its reach by adding partner nonprofits and provide direct benefit to community nonprofits, he said.
“Between the new fund and the EAF, the foundation is positioned to provide more than $120,000 in direct assistance through new and established nonprofit partners,” Deter said.
The foundation, which is soliciting donations to the fund, has received more than $25,000 in commitments from Gillett Pepsi La Crosse, Merchants Bank, WNB Financial, the Dahl Family Foundation and Pat and Jerry Papenfuss, he said.
New partners with access to the COVID-19 Relief Fund include Family and Children’s Center of Winona, Hiawatha Valley Mental Health, Home and Community Options and Project FINE. Long-established EAF partners include the Advocacy Center of Winona, Bluff Country Family Services in Hokah, Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota for prescription assistance, Hometown Resources in St. Charles, St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Wabasha, Semcac in Winona, Houston and Fillmore counties and Winona Volunteer Services.
The COVID-19 fund also can be used for needs such as supporting homeless individuals. Leftover funds, if any, will be distributed to nonprofit organizations trying to re-establish operations after the pandemic.
Contributions to the fund can be made at the foundation website, by contacting the foundation office at (507) 454-6511, emailing to or mailing the foundation at 111 Riverfront, Ste 2E, Winona, MN, 55987.