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Local Non-Profits Put County’s COVID Recovery Funds to Good Use



The Marjaree Mason Center is one of the first non-profits in Fresno County to be awarded ARPA funding. (Marjaree Mason Center)
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Earlier this week, Fresno County officials said they are continuing to invite local organizations to apply for state and local fiscal recovery grants.

There is $37 million earmarked for programs and projects that help county residents recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Marjaree Mason Center is one of the first non-profits in Fresno County to receive this one-time funding. The domestic-violence services agency will use $4.7 million to move into a larger, more modern facility.

Charity Susnick, the director of development and communications for MMC, says their current facility has served them well but the demand for services has exceeded its capacity.

“Additionally, the COVID pandemic has been especially difficult because our safe house is not isolation friendly and is communal in nature,” said Susnick.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Services Offered by MMC

According to Nicole Linder, MMC’s executive director, the pandemic triggered an increase in physical violence among adults and their children.

Portrait of Nicole Linder

MMC Executive Director Nicole Linder says her organization is grateful for the funding that will help meet the increasing demand for services.

Additionally, the county experienced multiple domestic violence-related homicides in 2021.

In fact, both the county and the city of Fresno had the highest per-capita rates of reported domestic violence in California. In 2020, California’s Department of Justice reported over 5,500 domestic violence-related calls for assistance to Fresno County law enforcement agencies.

The increasing violence has meant more families needing emergency shelter, says Linder. Currently, residents share bathroom, shower facilities, kitchen facilities, and other great room areas.​

“This funding allows Marjaree Mason Center to more than double its capacity to provide 24/7 crisis response, emergency and longer-term shelter, and other supportive services to those in Fresno County,” said Susnick.

The center’s current building, which was constructed in 1912, is considered a historic home and requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

“We are incredibly grateful to Fresno County Board of Supervisors for their ongoing partnership in our work and making domestic violence a priority of their funding,” said Linder.

Funding Help for Non-Profits

On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Board of Supervisors announced its plans for $194 million received in coronavirus state and local recovery aid under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Headlining the event: $6 million awarded to county hospitals to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

But supervisor Nathan Magsig also revealed that $4.7 million would be given to the Marjaree Mason Center for their new building, adding that the building would be an investment in infrastructure that would last for 50 or more years and was needed in the county.

Supervisor Nathan Magsig. at the podium, announces $6 million in ARPA funds will go to county hospitals and $4.7 million will go to the Marjaree Mason Center at a news conference on Feb 8, 2022. (GV Wire/Liz Juarez)

Approximately $37 million is earmarked for local organizations and non-profits with programs and projects under these categories:

  1. Support public health/address negative economic impacts;
  2. Premium pay for essential workers;
  3.  Infrastructure investment such as water, sewer, storm drainage, or broadband.

How Do Non-Profits Apply?

Before applying for these funds, the county advises applicants to review the Additional Funding areas created by ARPA to ensure that the applicant’s proposal is not eligible for funding in other areas.

Fresno County will host one last Zoom meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 23, starting at 6 p.m., to help organizations with their applications.

The application period ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 9.

The SLFRF application form can be downloaded from Fresno County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) website. 

For additional information on ARPA, visit Fresno County’s ARPA webpage here.


Liz Juarez joined GV Wire in July, 2021 as a Digital News Producer. She has experience working for publications around the Central Valley including the Clovis Roundup, Porterville Recorder and Hanford Sentinel. While in college, she interned for Mountain West Athletics and served as Outreach Chair for the Fresno State Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Liz earned a bachelor's degree in Media Communications and Journalism at Fresno State and a master's degree in Communications from Arizona State University. In her down time, she enjoys reading, drawing and staying active by playing basketball, taking trips to the coast and visiting national parks. You can contact Liz at