Deadline to apply for $1,000 Essential Funds for Essential Relief Funds is Sept. 3

A private family foundation has donated $125,000 to Opportunities Inc. to be given as $1,000 checks to 125 local individuals and families struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called Essential Funds for Essential Needs, the program is open to anyone living in Cascade County who can demonstrate direct financial hardship due to the current pandemic-related economic conditions.

There isn’t an income threshold, but applications will be weighted to prioritize families with children under age 18, minority households and essential workers in low wage professions. While many government programs limit what assistance can be spent on, these private dollars can be spent on families’ greatest needs.

Applications must be dropped off by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3, at a secure drop box located at Opportunities Inc., 905 1st Ave. N. Anyone with extenuating circumstances who cannot drop off their application, can call 761-0310.

Click here to get an application. If you don't have access to a printer, paper applications are available at Opportunities Inc., 905 1st Ave. N.

Opportunities Inc. staff will review all applications before drawing 125 names to be awarded $1,000. People will be notified if they are to receive the money.

Opportunities Inc. Executive Director Karla Seaman has seen how COVID-19 has impacted Cascade County families as more people are coming in the nonprofits’ doors seeking help paying for food, rent and utilities.

“Many families, particularly essential workers, are struggling to pay increased costs for food and childcare. Others have lost wages while in quarantine, causing them to fall behind on rental payments, utilities, and other basic need items.” she said. “As parents look to buy school supplies for their kids, this money couldn’t come at a better time.”

While anyone can apply, Opportunities Inc. is partnering with United Way of Cascade County to connect with families most in need.

“Often the people who are most in need are hardest to reach,” United Way President Gary Owen said. “United Way partners with dozens of nonprofits and agencies to meet families’ basic needs and tackle the biggest issues facing our community.”

This is the second time Opportunities, Inc., partnering with United Way, has been able to support the community needs through this program. Last fall, the anonymous foundation gave $100,000 and United Way raised an additional $50,000 in matching funds.

Thanks to the donations, 300 Cascade County families and individuals were given $500.

Opportunities, Inc. hopes selected families will have a renewed sense of hope and will feel like someone is in their corner to help them in their time of need.