Collier County reallocates $12M in CARES Act funds for nonprofits, community health

Published: September 22, 2020 4:57 PM EDT

Collier County commissioners on Tuesday approved $12 million of CARES Act funding for community health and services.

The money will go to hospitals, emergency health services, elder care, and nonprofits, ensuring more people will get the help they need – and employees will get to keep their jobs.

Getting furloughed from the St. Matthew’s House Thrift Store was a fearful time for Susan Sanchez.

“Not having the finances, financial security….for me, isolation is bad,” she said.

She wasn’t alone. St. Matthew’s House CEO Vann Ellison said over half of the nonprofit’s employees faced the same fate when the charity’s thrift stores had to close.

“About 65% of our organization’s revenue is generated through our businesses, our thrift stores, our catering company.”

The Naples Senior Center also suffered. Its president and CEO, Dr. Jaclynn Faffer, said it felt like everything changed overnight.

“Without even thinking if we had the money to pay for it, we had to upgrade our technology so that we could provide our virtual programming; we had to sanitize our building, we had to get the PPE.”

Both nonprofits survived with help from the Collier County CARES Act funds, and Tuesday, they learned they’ll get more relief after commissioners voted to reallocate around $12 million.

That money comes from areas where the county over projected what they’d need, like for PPE and childcare assistance.