Businesses donate much needed cash to charities strangled by shutdown

Some local businesses are coming to the rescue of charities in need of cash during the partial federal government shutdown.

Capital One gave a $250,000 donation to return to work the furloughed staff of the Latin American Youth Center.

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With contract reimbursements on hold due to the federal government shutdown, LAYC had insufficient cash to operate at full capacity. Last week the Columbia Heights nonprofit, which offers youth development services to 5,000 children each year, announced it had reduced its operations to essential services.

The gift from Capital One will restore the charity’s usual programming, which includes job training, education and mentoring.

Capital One also gave $100,000 in response to a challenge grant issued today by United Way for the National Capital Area that will create an emergency assistance fund for area charities.

The funds will provide food resources and short -term financial assistance with rent and mortgage payments, and overdue utility bills, Rosie Allen-Herring, head of United Way National Capital Area, said in a statement.

The money will be granted to four charities that provide food assistance, which include Capital Area Food Bank, SHARE Food Network, Meals on Wheels and Martha’s Table.

“This generosity has never been more important than it is today,” said Nancy Roman, president and chief executive of the Capital Area Food Bank.

Pepco has also donated $15,000 to the fund which will support Mary’s Center, Greater Washington Urban League and Interfaith Works.

Grantees are not expected to pay back the money.

Emergency funds during the shutdown could be a life-saver for groups such as Sasha Bruce Youthwork, which announced last week that it furloughed nearly half its employees, reduced services and began preparing to shutter operations if federal reimbursements do not start flowing soon. Since the announcement, the group, which operates a homeless shelter for youth, said it received $9,000 in emergency funds from individuals so far.

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