The Hecla Charitable Foundation created a $125,000 fund to support coronavirus-specific issues.
“We saw that as a very large immediate need in the community,” said Mike Satre, community relations manager for the Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company in a phone interview. “We also wanted to flag to the local authorities that we were willing to make larger investments and that we wanted to work with them to support what would make the greatest impact.”
The fund’s first recipient is the Southeast Alaska Food Bank. The foundation donated $20,000 to the food bank.
“It became clear the food bank was in desperate need of assistance,” Satre said. “We also have the ability during times of crisis like this to take aggressive action. We need to contribute far more than we usually do because there’s far more need.”
According to the foundation’s website, the bulk of their contributions go to community and education initiatives. However, it seemed prudent to cut loose a chuck of funding to dedicate solely to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Satre said.
“We don’t want to make too many decisions right away because we don’t know how long this is gonna last,” Satre said. “We want to make decisions in a measured, strategic fashion.”
While the food bank was the first recipient of the foundation’s beneficence, the foundation is already working with the City and Borough of Juneau’s emergency operations center to consider the next outfit they’re able to contribute to.
“We’re working on procuring PPE for our first responders and other folks throughout the city,” Satre said. “That’s not set in stone yet but it’s where we can put our experience at global procurement to use.”
Satre also said that the foundation’s grant program is still up and running, and encouraged those with ideas how the foundation could help support the community to apply.
“If people believe we can help with COVID-19 relief in the community, they can fill out a grant application and we’ll consider it,” Satre said. “We know there’s more need out there and we’re working with the city to support that.”
Greens Creek Mine has not yet had any confirmed cases of the coronavirus, Satre said.
“What we’ve found is healthy habits and social distancing and monitoring personal health have been new norms,” Satre said. “Everyone at Hecla Greens Creek is proud to be part of a critical workforce. In addition to making sure we can continue, we want to protect our communities.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.