Highlighted counties designate those that are eligible to participate in the grant program. (Daily Yonder graphic)

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LISC is launching an initiative to support rural community-based nonprofit organizations working in the Mississippi Delta that have been affected by Covid-19.

With $500,000 in grant funds to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) from the Walton Family Foundation and Hearst Foundations, the Mississippi Nonprofit Resiliency Fund reinforces nonprofits that serve as the backstop for thousands of struggling Mississippi Delta households dealing with the harsh impacts of this national pandemic and economic downturn.

“This pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for the entire country and the world, but especially for vulnerable people, organizations and businesses in our rural communities in the South,” said LISC President and CEO Maurice A. Jones. LISC is a nonprofit community development financial institution that supports rural and urban work in 44 states.

“Great places must include resilient community-based and community-serving organizations like the ones that will be aided by this effort,” Jones said.

The Mississippi Nonprofit Resiliency Fund enables LISC to distribute grants designed to keep nonprofits solvent, targeting those serving the neediest families and individuals in the Mississippi Delta. Grants will be made available through an application process that opened June 8. Grant funds will help organizations meet their most urgent needs, including operational costs such as paying employees, covering rent, and meeting the growing technological needs of a remote workforce or web-based service model.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to nonprofit organizations providing critical social services in the 27 Mississippi Delta counties of Adams, Bolivar, Carroll, Claiborne, Coahoma, DeSoto, Grenada, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leflore, Madison, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington, Wilkinson, Yalobusha and Yazoo. Twenty five percent of fund dollars are set aside for organizations based and serving Coahoma County.

The Walton Family Foundation supports Delta communities as part of its efforts to improve the quality of life in its home region. In the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta region, the Walton Family Foundation focuses on efforts that create access to educational and economic opportunity.

The Hearst Foundations is supporting the grant program through Emergency Response Fund.

More information is available on the LISC website.

Disclosure: Ligia Cravo, senior program officer of the Hearst Foundations, serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Rural Strategies, which publishes the Daily Yonder.