Verona celebrates Hometown Days as it returns for first time in two years

Verona Area Community Theater performers don costumes from their previous shows as they walk the parade during the Hometown Days parade on Sunday, Sept. 5, along Main Street.

Verona Area Community Theater is one of nearly 200 Dane County area nonprofits that will get a bit of a boost from a COVID-19 relief grant program.

Dane County and the Madison Community Foundation announced the grant program on Tuesday, Sept. 14, as a way to provide financial assistance to nonprofits that had losses or increased expenses in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a news release from the county states. The county gave out $5 million in grant funds to 183 nonprofit organizations, with individual grant amounts ranging from $2,500 to $50,000.

The release did not say how much funding VACT or any of the other organizations received.

The review process for receiving the grants was based on an organization’s budget, revenues and expenses, with the impact of possible federal funding, additional costs for COVID-19 safety protocols and the need to furlough staff being some of the factors taken into consideration, the news release states.

The funds for the grants comes from the county’s allocation of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed in March. Dane County received $100 million in funds as a result.

“Many Dane County nonprofits were part of the frontline response to the pandemic and served our community in unprecedented ways,” Dane County executive Joe Parisi said in the release. “We are excited to get this funding out the door and into our community. These grants will help local nonprofits recover from the impacts of the pandemic and reinvest in their work.”

The economic toll for nonprofits throughout Dane County in 2020 varied, the news release states. Two-thirds of nonprofits saw smaller budgets, and a third had to furlough staff; a third also were not eligible for the federal Paycheck Protection Program because they didn’t have a relationship with a financial institution, according to the release.

“By prioritizing those organizations (who couldn’t receive Paycheck Protection Program funds) with the American Rescue Plan resources, we were able to bridge an important gap and support a wide range of programs and nonprofits,” Madison Community Foundation president and CEO Bob Sorge said in the release.

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