CICOA donors provide heat relief through Cool Aid

POSTED: June 18, 2019

As summer heats up, most of us simply crank up the air conditioning to stay cool. Many people don’t have that luxury. Soaring temperatures may not just be uncomfortable; they can present a serious health risk for older adults and people with respiratory issues who often lack the ability to regulate their body temperatures. Understanding the dangers of high temperatures and the risk to many of its clients, CICOA  created the Cool Aid fund.

Through Cool Aid, you provided 35 window air conditioners and 30 fans this May and June for at-risk clients through your generous donations to the CICOA Foundation.

Filling in the Gaps

The CICOA Foundation is a separate nonprofit that functions as the fundraising arm of CICOA. Largely funded by state and federal dollars, CICOA provides resources and support services and resources to low-income seniors and people with disabilities in Marion and the surrounding counties. Those public funds often are restricted to specific services and don’t include many things people need to stay healthy and independent, such as fans or air conditioning.

Enter the CICOA Foundation. Created in 1992, its sole focus is raising funds to support CICOA’s mission.

“The Foundation enhances many of CICOA’s programs and services, and it also provides funds to help fill in the gaps when clients have special needs,” explained Susan Cornacchione, CICOA’s vice president of development.

Stepping Up for Clients’ Needs

In addition to the annual Cool Aid fund, the CICOA Foundation has a client assistance fund that provides for out-of-the-ordinary and unforeseen needs. CICOA’s clients typically are low-income and living on fixed incomes, which often doesn’t leave room for emergencies, like a broken water heater, for example.

“Our case managers work closely with clients to understand their needs,” Cornacchione said. “They also work closely with community organizations, such as township trustees, to understand what monies may be available to help. When there are no other resources available, the Foundation provides those resources.

Your Donation Directly Impacts People’s Lives

The Foundation is funded through private donations from generous donors like you. Some donors contribute monthly through CICOA’s Signature Community; others make one-time gifts. Last year, the Foundation provided approximately $45,000 in grants and funding to CICOA from donor funds. Of that, $20,000 was for client assistance, $5,000 was for Cool Aid, and $20,000 was holiday assistance.

Donor funds cover the cost of holiday baskets, which are delivered by volunteers and staff each December. Cornacchione said the Foundation’s goal is to provide 400 baskets this year, 100 more than in 2018.

“CICOA is serving more clients than ever, and our donors, through the CICOA Foundation, support the important work the agency is doing on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens,” Cornacchione said.

Can you help? The cost of a window air conditioner unit is $120.

Donate Now to Support Cool Aid


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